Dr. Fauci Just Debunked This Big Immunity Myth
Coronavirus cases are slowing but, with 70,000 daily in America, are too high for for the pandemic to be anywhere close to over. Concerned, the Administration for Children and Families put together a video called "Teens Ask the Experts," in which teenagers asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, their burning questions about the pandemic. Fauci discussed how they made the vaccine so quickly, how often we'll need boosters and how to talk to the vaccine hesitant (including parents). Read on for his 8 life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Dr. Fauci Said This to Anyone Still Afraid to Get Vaccinated
Hesitant to get the vaccine? "Let's go through the reasons why you are hesitant and in a completely non-confrontative, but instructive way, try and answer those questions. And they're all very, they could be, you went too fast. We don't know about safety. There are some conspiratorial things like if you get vaccinated, you become magnetic or somebody will put a chip in the vaccine and follow you around. I mean, those things are almost ludicrous, but there are some things that are understandable, may not people here through the social media, something that's completely untrue that the vaccine has a negative impact on your fertility, which we know that that's just not the case or it's bad for pregnant women to get vaccinated. In fact, it's very important for pregnant women to get vaccinated because the effect of COVID disease on pregnancy is very profoundly negative. So there's a good answer to all the questions. We just have to keep an open mind to answering those questions."
Dr. Fauci Said Here's Why You May Be Immune to COVID But Should Still Get Vaccinated
"Well, antibodies that you can measure last for a few months, maybe 5, 6, 7 months, but that doesn't mean that the protection goes away because you also have in your body, what's called memory B cells, as well as T-cells that can protect you even when you don't have a very high level of circulating antibody. So you should not feel that because that level goes down, that there is a profound degree of loss of protection. The reason that we say that people, even though they've been infected should also get vaccinated because unlike the response to vaccine, the response of immunity following infection is much less well-defined. It certainly is present. You don't want to deny that there's a degree of protection, but it varies between about related to the age of the person, the underlying condition, how serious their infection was. Was it an asymptomatic infection or was it a highly symptomatic infection? All of those things influence what the level of protection are. So that's one of the reason why in order to get rid of that uncertainty, the CDC recommends that even if you have been infected, you get vaccinated, because the one thing we know is true is that vaccination following infection increases dramatically the level of protection of an individual."
Dr. Fauci Said Here's How the Vaccines Were Made So Quickly
"The reason is that the research, the basic and clinical research that went into the development of a vaccine did not start on January the, of the year 2020. When we first heard about this new coronavirus, this novel coronavirus, actually the research began a couple of decades before. So when we heard and learned of the sequence of the virus, we were able within days to go ahead and start on the vaccine program. And within 65 days, we were actually in a phase one study. So what the result was is that it was less than one year. We started in January of 2020. And by the time we got to December of 2020, we already had a highly effective and safe vaccine going into the arms of people, which now a year later or more has actually saved millions of lives worldwide. So it really is a testimony to the importance of investment—years and years of investment—in basic and clinical research. That's the reason why we were able to do it so quickly."
Dr. Fauci Said Younger People are in Danger of COVID if Unvaccinated
One teen named Tony said: "I've heard that they don't seem to get sick if they get COVID. And I've heard a lot of people are getting sick from COVID, even if they are vaccinated. So why should our demographic of youth need to get vaccinated with the COVID vaccines?"
"First of all, it's a misperception, that younger individuals, children, and teenagers and adolescents don't get sick from COVID," said Dr. Fauci. "Certainly the statistics are that it is less likely for a person as young as you are to get seriously ill compared to someone as old as I am. There's no doubt about that. That the elderly and with underlying conditions clearly have a greater likelihood of getting severe disease. However, that does not mean that teenagers and adolescents and children are not also susceptible to getting sick. All you need to do is visit some of the pediatric hospitals throughout the world, and you will see plenty of young people who are seriously ill, some requiring intensive care. That's the first part, the second part to say that some people who get vaccinated do get infected, therefore that's a reason not to get vaccinated is a false narrative because people who get vaccinated who get a breakthrough infection a much, much less likely to develop serious disease compared to someone who's infected, but who isn't vaccinated the data on that are very clear."
Dr. Fauci Said He Didn't Know If We'd Have to Take a Vaccine Booster Every Year
"I have to tell you to be honest and transparent: We don't know the answer to that right now," said Dr. Fauci about whether or not yearly vaccinations are needed. "We do know that if you take the mRNA vaccine and get a third shot boost, or if you took the J&J and get a second shot boost, that you can get a very high degree of immunity that lasts longer likely than just the two doses. We don't know how long it lasts. So it is conceivable that the durability will be extended. Well, well, beyond that third dose, the only way to know that is to wait and see how long it lasts, because we've only been giving boosters for a relatively short period of time. We hope that you will not need a vaccine every year to stay protected, but we're just going to have to follow it very carefully and see if that's necessary. And if it is, we'll just have to adapt to that."
Dr. Fauci Said the Vaccine Has No Effects on the Reproductive Health of Youth
"The answer is no," said Dr. Fauci, "because we have now literally billions of doses of vaccine have been distributed worldwide over 6.6 or 6.8 million in the United States. So we have really no concern at all that there's any negative impact on fertility or any other aspect of reproduction in any age."
Dr. Fauci Said This When Asked How a Kid Could Convince Their Parent to Get a Vaccine
"That's a good question," said Dr. Fauci. "And I think it's to try and develop a non-confrontational discussion and just go with the facts and explain to your parents, what is it that is making you hesitant? And I sort of answered that question in some of your colleagues, questions to me, for example, do you think it's because it was developed so quickly and then you explained that it wasn't really that quickly because the investment in research was a long time. Do you think it's not safe? Well, as I mentioned, just a moment ago, we have now about 400 million doses that have been given in the United States to a large number of people over 180 million people, who've received the vaccine in its full course. So if you think that that's not enough experience, that's a lot of experience because as I mentioned, just a moment ago, globally, there have been over 6 billion doses in the United States over 400 million doses. So you've got to go question by question and answer it for your parents, and hopefully you'll win them over to realize why it's so important for their own health and the health of their family and society to go ahead and get vaccinated."
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How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.