Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve quickly, will protect recipients against both the disease and infection, which has a significant difference in controlling the rapid spread of the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
"If you protect against clinical disease, that's very good," Fauci, the director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on NBC's "Today." "But if you also even prevent a person from getting actually infected, that would mean that you're preventing someone from passing the infection on to someone else, and that kind of interferes with the chain of transmission."
Fauci added that with the impending approval, Moderna's shots will likely start within a few days, most likely at the early part of next week.
Meanwhile, the United States has made investments in six vaccine candidates, and five of them have either completed phase three of their clinical trials or all well within the process.
In addition to the six candidates from the United States, vaccines are being made all around the world, which is "very, very good," said Fauci. "There's no competition here. We want as many successful candidates as we possibly can."
Fauci said he agrees with estimates that vaccines could be available widely to the general public in late February or March, but that will depend on how effectively the prioritized recipients get their shots.
"Once you get through the priority list, then you could say it's sort of open season for anyone who is not necessarily on a priority list like the normal man and woman in the street, who has no underlying condition," said Fauci.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, along with Surgeon General Jerome Adams were publicly vaccinated on Friday, and Fauci said his own turn is coming soon.
"We're waiting for the supply to come into the NIH," he said. "We haven't got our supply yet. I hope it's gonna come in the next couple of days. If it does, I'm going to get vaccinated as soon as I can. I hope that's going to be within the next few days to the early part of next week,"
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