America’s leading coronavirus expert gave the thumbs-up after receiving Moderna’s new Covid vaccine after saying he had ‘extreme confidence’ in its safety and effectiveness.
Dr Anthony Fauci was given the injection at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, on Tuesday morning, where he serves as director. Asked why he was having the vaccine before he was injected, the 79 year-old said: ‘Well for me it’s important for two reasons.
‘One, I’m an attending physician here on the staff at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, so I do see patients.As important or more important is as a symbol to the rest of the country that I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine.
‘And I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so we have a veil of protection over the country that would end this pandemic.’
A medic then rolled up Dr Fauci’s left sleeve and gave him the shot, with Fauci giving two thumbs up as he was applauded afterwards. Staff at the NIH worked with Moderna to develop their new vaccine, whose official name is mRNA-1273.
The veteran epidemiologist leads the White House coronavirus task force, and is the most respected Covid expert in the United States.
His decision to take the vaccine publicly is intended to allay fears among people over the speed at which anti-Covid injections were developed. Dr Fauci previously insisted that advances in science meant the shots were as safe as others that had taken years to develop.
The United States is currently vaccinating people with Moderna’s shot and a similar injection from rival company Pfizer. Both require two injections around 21 days apart, and are around 95% effective at preventing serious coronavirus infections.
President Trump is widely believed to have lost this year’s presidential election over his handling of Covid, and he is said to be jealous of Fauci’s popularity
Dr Fauci has already accepted incoming President Joe Biden’s offer to continue leading America’s coronavirus efforts when Biden is sworn in next month.
The United States has recorded 18 million coronavirus infections, and close to 320,000 deaths.
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