Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.'s leading infectious-disease expert, urged Americans on Monday to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, even if emerging strains are eluding the vaccines, because doing so will help stop the virus from mutating.
ANTHONY FAUCI: I mean, certainly, when the J&J data were rolled out, that I actually made a comment at the conference, at the NIH press conference, that this would likely be a messaging challenge when people just think superficially of a number, 72% versus 94% to 95%. But the thing that's important that you need to put into the equation is what you really want to do. You want to prevent people from getting seriously ill.
You want to prevent them from getting into the hospital. And you want to prevent them from dying. And, if you look at the data-- and, again, the data is going to be looked at in a more granular way by the FDA, and we'll be hearing more about that-- that the J&J, with its 72% overall efficacy in the USA, actually had a very good record with regard to severe disease, to the point of virtually, when you were looking at South Africa, which was an important part of that trial, there were virtually no hospitalizations or deaths in the individuals, even though the number was lower when it comes to any kind of disease.
So there will be situations where people will say to themselves, do I want to get a single-dose vaccine and know that I'm protected against serious disease? Or, do I want to go with a number that's a 94% to 95%? And I can tell you that there are many people who would rather have the convenience of a single dose disease. And there may be areas of the country and/or different age groups, depending upon the data as we'll wait until we get it from the FDA, that might make that more attractive.
So I don't think we should be put aback by the fact that there was a difference in the initial number of any kind of efficacy because there's a lot more to protection than just preventing from getting infected. We want to keep people out of the hospital. And we don't want people to die.