Former CDC head: ‘Moving in the right direction’ on vaccine rollout

Former acting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Richard Besser discusses progress in getting vaccine doses to Americans, and the importance of more global vaccine distribution.
5:37 | 02/20/21

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Transcript for Former CDC head: ‘Moving in the right direction’ on vaccine rollout
I'm joined now by doctor Richard fats are former acting CDC director former chief health and medical editor Gary ABC news and now CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation thanks so much for being with us doctor vasser. Picture it nice to be here. Biden administration has faced some criticism this week for confusion on the timeline of when every American. Can get the vaccine let's just take a step back though he would with me how would you say that we're doing as a country on a vaccine distribution right now and our dose is getting out quickly enough especially given these new variants that are emerging. Well yeah I'm I. Would say we are moving in the in the right direction. The idea that we have. Two vaccines that are approved for use this is this Sunni into. A new pandemic. I think is absolutely miraculous. There have been a lot of bumps along the way in terms of getting vaccines but but things they give me hope the numbers are going up every day and additionally in addition to the numbers of people being vaccinated. We're hearing that there's more intentional outreach to get vaccines in the communities that are Carter's artist to reach so rural communities. Communities where people work during the day who mean upheavals took content these mass text nude vaccine clinics a recognition they communities of color that have been hit so hard need to be addressed through vaccination distribution programs. Certainly an important element in one bit of potential good news today with Pfizer submitting new data to the FDA showing their vaccine each can be stored in a normal freezer for up to two weeks instead of requiring those specialized ultra low temperature freezers how much of the difference will this making getting those doses into the arms of Americans. Yeah we will have to wait crafty to review that Eddie if they go along with the company and they and they support the data that shows his doesn't need an ultra cold temperatures. I think that's going to be huge this is a vaccine ended required. Cold temperatures that no other vaccine ever had hadn't required. So idiot in terms of being able to get vaccines are to community clinics and doctors' offices and pharmacies that don't have all too cold temperatures that's going to be terrific. In terms of use global in places where there's no way to maintain those are too cold temperatures could benefit there is well also I'm very excited this development. We've also seen some good news in recent weeks with declining cases hospitalizations and debts but at that same time we're seeing some states that are moving to loosen some of the restrictions on businesses. Some even lifting the mask mandate. Are you concerned that if we let our guard down we could potentially see another surge in cases. I am concerned he is specially with the variants that were seeing. Be identified here in the US and in other parts of the world. What what we saw in Europe was after being declined the emergence of what is been referred to as the UK period. Let two under a major dramatic increase and that can't happen here. So I have my inclination is to say let's. Let's keep our it is absolutely keep together on this that's where masses keep apartments avoid crowded place is limit our travel well we are turned to be vaccinated. And then when the numbers truly declined two took very low levels. Then you start to reopen but if you do that before. You truly have this under control this virus can bounce back very easily. I've got ASCII is so based on our current progress what's your view of what's realistic when it comes to our future what can we expect. For some degree of normalcy or should we just be changing altogether our idea of what normal might be. Well yeah I think normal will be different when I think of the work place and what that looks like that may be different prolonged time and and permanently in the in some places in terms of remote work. But in terms of there being enough vaccine for people everyone who wants you to accede to get added into BO they eased more restrictions. It depends so much on vaccine supply. I expected within a couple months from what I hear the supply will will well Al piece that demand and so we have matter that our point of trying to get people the information that they need to make a decision. So that more people will go ahead and get vaccinated. Hopefully by this summer will be able to enjoy a lot more activity than we were this news previous summer. It will be awhile before there's vaccines for children so the new school year. I'm will look different and this fall will look different than a normal school year. But I am hoping that this fall by the end of the year. We will be enjoying life in a way. We seems very very long ago. Organ embrace and had some of that cautious optimism and finally president Biden announced today at four billion dollar commitment to global efforts to target getting vaccines. To poor countries now this does not divert supply away for Americans as many had mistakenly assumed but. Why is it's an administration priority and shouldn't be. It is so incredibly important when we news. For many reasons what morally and ethically we have a responsibility to help ensure that vaccine gets to everyone around the globe who needs it. In terms of our own national interest though what we've been seen with new variant springing up around the globe that will continue to have. Happen until the entire world's population is vaccinated. So we have a vested interest the Internet and buy compact contributing to the fund to purchase vaccines we will allow. A little lower income countries to have access to the same vaccines that we have access suit here. It's a very important step by the government. Doctor vasser thanks so much for your insight and thanks and let us out Friday night we appreciate it. Thank you so much have a good weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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