Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director, expects a “flood” of vaccine mandates once the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines get full approval from federal drug regulators.
The Biden administration’s COVID-19 adviser said over the weekend that he hopes the vaccines would be fully approved in “the next few weeks” and “within the month of August.” Vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are currently being distributed in the U.S. under emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On Aug. 7, Fauci told USA Today that he expects that numerous vaccine-related mandates will be implemented by private entities after the vaccines receive FDA approval. Fauci predicted that mandates are not going to happen at the federal level, but vaccine approval will embolden many groups.
“Organizations, enterprises, universities, colleges that have been reluctant to mandate at the local level will feel much more confident,” he said.
“They can say: ‘If you want to come to this college or this university, you’ve got to get vaccinated. If you want to work in this plant, you have to get vaccinated. If you want to work in this enterprise, you’ve got to get vaccinated. If you want to work in this hospital, you’ve got to get vaccinated.’” (Related: Fauci desperately wants to rollout Vaccine Passports and grant vaccine companies absolute control over your life.)
Fauci changes tone to fit Biden’s narrative
In an interview with CBS News last week, Fauci said that vaccinated people carry about the same amount of the delta variant as unvaccinated people. “When you look at the level of virus in the nasopharynx of people who are vaccinated who get breakthrough infections, it’s really quite high and equivalent to the level of virus in the nasopharynx of unvaccinated people who get infected,” Fauci said.
But on Aug. 8, Fauci changed his tone and said that he believed the COVID-19 vaccines perform well against the delta variant – although mainly in protecting an individual from “severe disease.”
“If you give the virus the chance to continue to change, you’re leading to a vulnerability that we might get a worse variant and then that will impact not only the unvaccinated, that will impact the vaccinated because that variant could evade the protection of the vaccine,” Fauci said.
Fauci’s about-face comes as President Joe Biden’s administration weighs what levers it can pull to encourage more unvaccinated Americans to receive the vaccine.
Biden recently approved rules requiring federal workers to provide proof of vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandate and travel restrictions. Biden is also awaiting a formal recommendation from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on potentially requiring U.S. troops to be vaccinated.
Children are supposedly more vulnerable to the delta variant compared to other variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
In Tennessee, the Department of Health projects the state’s children’s hospitals will be full soon. Dr. Lisa Piercey, the state’s health commissioner, said the delta variant is rapidly spreading among children who are quickly showing symptoms after possible exposure.
The risk of severe disease is much lower among children than adults, but experts are concerned about the long-term effects of COVID-19 in children. Fauci said children under 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, so the adults around them must be their protection. He said “anybody who is anywhere near a child in what should be a protected environment of a school” needs to be vaccinated.
According to the White House, almost 90 percent of educators and school staffers are vaccinated even without a mandate. Fauci also recommends wearing masks in school, saying that masks are the next best thing just behind the vaccine. (Related: Shameless: Fauci pretty much admits mask-wearing for vaccinated persons is just theater.)
“I would rather have a child be a little bit uncomfortable with a mask on and be healthy than a comfortable child without a mask in an ICU,” he said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me why you would want to not protect the children.”
New York City gets the ball rolling
With more than 70 percent of adults having had at least one dose of vaccine, the focus shifted now to those who are still unvaccinated. On Aug. 3, New York became the first city in the U.S. to announce that it would require proof of vaccination for people attending indoor venues such as restaurants, gyms and shows.
The city’s proof of vaccination requirements will start on Aug. 16 and be enforced starting on Sept. 13. For proof, people can use their paper vaccination cards, the NYC COVID Safe app or the Excelsior Pass.
IBM developed the Excelsior Pass under an estimated $17 million contract with the state of New York. To obtain the pass, people need to upload their personal information.
Under the standard version of the pass, businesses and third parties see only whether the pass is valid, along with the person’s name and date of birth. The Excelsior Pass also has Phase 2, which could involve expanding the app’s use and adding more information like personal details and other health records that could be checked by businesses upon entry.
Vaccine passports have largely been rolled out without a national framework in the U.S. Biden has ruled out a national vaccine pass, leaving states, cities and private companies to determine whether and how to have their own electronic systems to keep track of vaccinated people.
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