The top U.S. infectious disease expert said Tuesday the U.S. could have COVID-19 contained by early 2022 with the possible full approval of more vaccines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s remarks came one day after the Pfizer vaccine received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“If we get the overwhelming majority of those 80 to 90 million people who have not yet been vaccinated, who have been reluctant to get vaccinated or have not had the opportunity, I believe we can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Fauci said on the NBC News “Today” program.
With the potential full government approval of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines in coming weeks and the possibility of children being approved for vaccinations this fall, Fauci said “We can turn this thing around.”
In the U.S., more localities and organizations said Monday they will require proof of vaccination following the announcement that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine received full federal approval.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in coronavirus infections, with nearly 38 million, and in COVID-19 deaths, with roughly 630,000, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Research Center.
In other developments, the U.S. has donated a half million doses of Moderna’s vaccine to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to help contain a new surge in infections.
The U.S. Palestinian Unit, part of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, announced the donation on Tuesday, one day after Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said unvaccinated government workers would be placed on unpaid leave.
The donation was facilitated by the global COVAX vaccine-distribution program, which the Palestinians say has resulted in them receiving a total of 2.5 million doses.
The head of the World Health Organization urged countries to delay administering booster shots by at least two months to allow nations with low vaccine doses to receive more.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters during a visit to Hungary's capital, Budapest, that priority should be given to raising vaccination rates in countries where only 1% or 2% of the population has been inoculated.
Tedros also questioned the usefulness of booster shots, saying “there is a debate about whether booster shots are effective at all."
Hungary became the first country in the European Union to offer booster shots and joins a growing number of nations, including the United States and Israel, that have begun offering or are planning to offer third shots to their populations.
The WHO said last week that it does not believe current data supports the need for COVID-19 booster shots.
Some information in this report came from AP and Reuters.