Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on the Today Show Wednesday, that the United States isn’t vaccinating people fast enough to stay ahead of new variants, but the supply is improving.
Fauci said it’s “certainly a possibility” that new strains of the coronavirus could become dominant in the US. The way to prevent further mutation of the virus, is to suppress the replication of the virus, he told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
“The best way to do that is twofold,” he said. Double down on public health measures to prevent person to person spread and get as many people as possible vaccinated.
“The more people that are protected from infection, the less opportunity you give to the virus to mutate,” he said. “It can’t mutate if it doesn’t replicate, so you the more you suppress it, the less it does.”
When Guthrie asked if the US was vaccinating at a pace that was fast enough to keep ahead of the new variants, Fauci said “we’re getting better and better, but Savannah, we’re not, because the situation is we still have a demand that far exceeds the supply.”
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that it would begin direct shipments of coronavirus vaccines to pharmacies starting Feb. 11. Fauci said this is good news.
“If you get pharmacies to distribute, if you get community vaccine centers to distribute and then later on we’ll probably have mobile units to get out there, but we’ve got to get the steady supply of vaccines so that we can put it in people’s arms,” he said.
The more companies that give vaccine data that looks like they’ll be able to get in the mix of vaccines, “the better we are.”
“The more companies, the more vaccines, the more vaccines, the more people get protected, he said.