(Image credit: AP)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to US President Joe Biden, on May 5 talked about various issues related to the ongoing pandemic and cleared several doubts regarding vaccination. From highlighting 'extraordinary divisiveness in the country' to talking about being the target of controversy, Fauci opened up on being the target of public attack. He also took some questions from the audience and shared his thoughts on vaccination.
Dr Fauci is leading the American task force to fight COVID-19 and he is a highly regarded infectious diseases expert. He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and answered if one can take one shot of Moderna and the second shot of Pfizer. Responding to a public query, Fauci said, "They are both the same type of vaccines, they are both mRNA vaccines, we recommend you get the same type but in case it is not available, there isn't a major difference."
"If my dog gets COVID and I kiss him, can I get COVID?," asked a man. With a grin on his face, Fauci responded "it's unlikely that your dog is going to get COVID" and added that "it's unlikely you're going to get COVID if you kiss your dog." However, he clarified that animals do get COVID and there have been cases of big cats getting infected. He added that there is no case of the virus getting transmitted from a domestic animal to an owner.
In his television appearance, Fauci spoke about people who resist vaccination and said that "it's frustrating". He further called it a "societal responsibility" and highlighted the need to put an end to the virus outbreak.
“It is very frustrating,” Fauci said. “There’s a societal responsibility that we should all have to put an end to this outbreak. And if you have a group of people who understandably may think that they are invulnerable because they are young and healthy… and therefore it doesn’t make any difference if they get infected because they likely will do well, that’s really not the right attitude.”
Fauci explained how this refusal blunts the effectiveness of the national vaccination effort.
“If you let yourself get infected, it’s not just you in a vacuum,” he said. “You may inadvertently and innocently infect somebody else who will infect someone who will really get in trouble… That’s really the frustrating part.”
When asked at what point will the US send the COVID-19 vaccine shots to India "where people really need them and want them", Fauci said "we don't want to give up on our people" and highlighted to give an "opportunity by making it very easy to get vaccinated." Fauci highlighted how Biden is making it easier to get vaccinated by just visiting any pharmacy without the need of an appointment but added that "this doesn't mean we should ignore the people who are suffering because we have a moral responsibility to do what we are able to do to get those people vaccinated also."
Speaking about the role of social media amid pandemic where both information and disinformation is being circulated in huge amount, Fauci said: "it's both good and bad." He said that while it has made it easy to spread information among people quickly, the amount of disinformation and conspiracy theories makes it "frustrating".
On a lighter note, Kimmel asked: "Speaking of nonsense, when did you last speak to Donald Trump?" Fauci broke into laughter and recalled that his last conversation with the former US President was when he was recovering from COVID-19 and was in hospital. Trump has always been critical of Fauci and they have both openly contradicted each other on public platforms fueling rumours of a feud.
“I never would have imagined when I was training in medicine,” Dr. Fauci told Kimmel, “That we would reach a situation where there would be such extraordinary divisiveness in the country. I consider the country as my patient, metaphorically, where [I] really want to take care of them,” Dr. Fauci said. “It was a real jolt and a shock early on when you get completely criticized and attacked because you’re saying things that is trying to save the lives and preserve the health of people.”