Dr. Atul Gawande predicts FDA will approve Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine

Dr. Atul Gawande answers questions surrounding the latest on COVID-19, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the New York variant.
5:51 | 02/26/21

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Transcript for Dr. Atul Gawande predicts FDA will approve Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Although more and more Americans are receiving bear suits cope in nineteen vaccinations many questions still remain. Did chances some of those questions and give us the latest on the new Kobe variance. Is surgeon Ed Brigham and wig and women's hospital flora and professor at Harvard. Harvard's TH Chan school of public health starts I tool got one day I like that name tactical one day it's great that so welcome to the show back to how. I'm so grateful I was able to receive my second dose yesterday. I have zero symptoms not even a sore arm nothing I can go trick and I travel now can I happens at a party I mean what can I don't want to go to Italy and dying to go to Italy. When do we go back to like a certain sense of normalcy get his give a sock them. Well I mean right now we have millions of people who are actively infected in circulation. And these vaccines all of them. Do an amazing job at preventing you from getting a serious illness hospitalization or death that's what matters. But it doesn't eliminate your ability to either get infected with a possibly mild. Infection or. Actually infect others were still sorting that out so. Our short answer is you know my mom got the vaccine. And I got the vaccine she had very little side effect. And she's in a senior retirement community and now suddenly she can visit me she can visit family she can travel shall go see now my sister. But. It is the only the only thing we ask is that it's with a mask until we get these infection rates down. The line even bury it cobain's strains are all over the headlines and popping up across the country including here in New York. How much does this concern you and what can we do about it. It's very concerning to me because Tom d.'s new strains are turning out to be more contagious. In some cases they're more likely to push in the hospital and and even to be more lethal. And and the vaccines have. Eighths a reduced effect especially on the ones from South Africa Brazil were concerned about the one circulating in New York. That has cropped up. But the bottom line is that. Our core. Measures like wearing a mask and distancing work. The vaccines protect against people getting seriously ill and it's likely we will have to update the vaccines and people might need a booster shot. In months or a year from now but these this at the pathway out of it the strains are concerned. But we have things we can do about it. Doctor my book my parents and my husband are now vaccinated so I feel like I've won the lottery I am so grateful. And so blessed and just patiently waiting till they get to Chad be 49 year olds but. My question is you were a member of the biting Harris called mid nineteen transition team. And I've noticed that there's different policies for vaccination in. Different states even within different counties inside as state I have friends flying in from New York I have plans find him from California I have others you know. And them driving up to north Florida it's crazy. In you opinion should Hav ban a national policy or is this state by state the way to go. I wish they're cutting it and I wish there could have been a straightforward national policy that we all could've marched forward on. There wasn't. And you know end and now the current administration is proceeding with what we have. And you know the good news about that is that each location this flexing it to what they are ties for example. In some states they're prioritizing teachers in other states it's really strictly on the basis of age and illness here's the critical thing. We have prioritized everywhere that people over 65. And people with two co morbidity these are the ones that need to get the vaccines the fastest. This'll be how we drop back that is where the bulk of the hospitalizations. And deaths are occurring. And we are already seeing affect nursing homes have seen a massive drop. In. In the and that population is likelihood of hospitalization and death from coded so. You know were marching in the right out we're all marching on slightly different beat it would it to the drummer but. But we are marching in the same direction. Tactical one. DA is reviewing today some reports have focused on its lower after testy as compared to Pfizer and adjourn. I know people that are like I wanna get the Dolly Parton vaccine and people talk about vaccines lake. We're average Americans know anything about the difference between vaccines I don't what's the bigger picture here and is one better than the other. Well so first of all the Johnson Johnson data looks excellent I think the FDA is going to prove it in the next few days. It's a one shot. Vaccine. And that one shot is proving to be. As effective at stopping severe illness hospitalization and death as what we've seen with with the others. End. The key thing to understand Madeira and spies or had their. Trials done last summer without these mutant strains that we're talking about in circulation. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is being tasked with the king had results and in a different environment now and in that environment continued to be very protective against what matters which is what you get really sick. And whether you get oh or you risk for hospitalization and death so you know my advice to my own patients and two people generally. Is that I'm your best vaccine is the one you can get don't sit around waiting for another one at a time when we have. Millions of actively infected people still in circulation.

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

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