Director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci addresses a daily briefing at the White House in Washington on Jan. 21, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Last Friday, Dr. Anthony Fosi, White House chief medical advisor, has urged Americans to make sure they get a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, saying the second shot has been of great benefit.
Pfizer and Modernna’s Covid Vaccines require two doses, three to four weeks apart. Both vaccines are about 95 percent effective against the virus, but that strong defense will not be established until two weeks after the second dose, officials said.
Fauci said on Friday that about 8% of Americans who received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna Covid vaccine have not returned for a second injection. But skipping a second drug could cause problems for those Americans, since just one vaccine produced a weaker immune response compared to two.
Fauci cited numerous scientific studies, including a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Wednesday, that found the vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 were 64% effective in preventing hospitalization in the elderly following a single injection, but were 94% effective after two doses. The study evaluated 417 adults who were hospitalized in 14 states from January to March.
“If you have two doses, make sure you get a second dose,” he said during a briefing on the White House outbreak.
Early on, officials and public health experts said they worried it would be difficult for some Americans, especially the working class, who could not easily take a break to return to a second dose. Still, officials said getting the second shot was better than expected.
On Friday, Fauci also urged healthcare providers to make sure they swiftly switch the canceled visit schedule for a second match.
Fauci’s speech comes as the United States is experiencing a truly slow daily vaccination rate for the first time after months of sustained hikes. The country reported an average of 2.6 million vaccinations per day over the past week, CDC data showed, down from the highest reported 3.4 million shots per day on April 13.
His comments also came as the United States tracked a new, highly infectious virus, Fauci previously said, that two doses of Pfizer’s Covid, or Moderna, were better than a single vaccine against different strains.
Earlier this month, Fauci made recommendations for people who reported being diagnosed with Covid after receiving the first vaccine and before receiving a second vaccination.
He said people infected with COVID-19 during the Covid-19 vaccination will receive a second dose after recovering from their illness and are no longer considered contagious.
CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.