The true origins of the coronavirus pandemic will be difficult to determine "until we have a truly independent assessment," from people who can directly interview scientists involved, Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told Newsmax Monday while commenting on an unclassified summary released last week.
He also told Newsmax's "Wake Up America" that he's not surprised that the investigators determined, "with moderate confidence," that the first COVID-19 infection was the result of a laboratory-associated incident but not from a disease created as a biological weapon.
"Biological weapons are incredibly hard to develop, so I'm not surprised that people don't think that's what's going on," said Jha.
He also said he thinks the nation's intelligence agencies are doing the best they can from the data they have, but "we're not going to know until we have that independent assessment, an assessment that I hope will be coming."
However, that will take the cooperation of the Chinese government, Jha stressed.
Jha also commented on the growing call for booster shots, saying that the question remains about whether the shots should come at eight months after a person's last vaccine or at six months.
"We could follow the Israeli example, which I think is based on pretty good data," Jha said.
He also said that "the body can't take it" if booster shots would be needed every six months, but he does not think that is going to happen.
"Part of it is that we're seeing waning immunity, but I think the issues that we're going to get better quality vaccines," said Jha. "The vaccines we have right now are terrific. But they don't last as long as I think many of us hoped and so we may come up with better options that could last potentially longer. I also think there's plenty of evidence there's a lot of other vaccines that are a three-vaccine, three-shot course and then you never need another shot after that, so there's a lot of uncertainty here."
But still, he stressed that more than 1,000 Americans are dying every day "because they're not vaccinated, getting at least those first two shots. [That is] life-saving. We can debate how important a third shot is and for whom."
Jha said he also agrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the call for mandatory COVID shots for school children.
"We have lots of vaccine mandates," Jha said. "We have vaccine mandates for measles. I can't send my kid to school without a measles shot. I can't send my kid to school without a bunch of other shots. We should treat COVID like we do all the other infectious diseases out there and when we have data that these vaccines are safe and effective and vaccine mandates in public schools make a lot of sense. We've been doing it forever and I don't know why we want to politicize this one when we don't do it for the other vaccines."
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