Pfizer, Tamara Keith, Lily discussed on Weekend Edition Sunday
I mean, we've seen Red States, especially in the South, doing worse in vaccination rates and now in infection rates. I mean, what is the plan to try to get people on board? You're you're right that we have an ongoing challenge to get people vaccinated that said, we've been able to administer more than 320 million doses of vaccine in our country, which is extraordinary. And the vaccinations if you especially if you look at seniors where we were seeing the greatest proportion of deaths and hospitalizations that has been extraordinary, we have close to 90%. Seniors who have had at least one shot, so a lot of progress in the older groups But I am concerned and particularly about younger groups. What's really worrying me. Lulu, though, is the misinformation that is circulating about the vaccines. We know from polls that two thirds People who are unvaccinated either believe the common myths about Covid 19 vaccination or think they may be true. It's like you can get covid from the vaccine, which is absolutely not true. Ornaments like the vaccine causes infertility, which also has no basis in evidence. And so what we have to do is to think about how to better combat this misinformation. We've got a few strategies to do it number one. We're working closely with Doctors and nurses and other health care providers. Given that they are extraordinarily trusted sources of 80% of People say they want to talk to their health care provider before making a decision about the vaccine, so we are working with them, including getting the vaccine into their office. We're also trying to make it easier for people to get vaccinated by creating more on site vaccination efforts, particularly with Employers in schools as well as more mobile units that can help bring vaccine to where people are Dr Mercy, though some say getting full FDA approval for the vaccines would help you can hear there are on TV on Fox at being called an experimental vaccine, which it isn't of course. But why hasn't full approval happened yet? Well, it's it's a very important point you're raising, which is the distance is not experimental. And that's an important thing to emphasize here because we have more experience with this vaccine and with many other vaccines at this stage because of how many people have received it, why hasn't it been fully approved yet? The FDA now has the data and the application from two companies Pfizer and Moderna for, uh, be your full approval. If you will. Now the FDA is going through its process. We've got to let them look at that those reams and reams of data that have been submitted And my expectation is that they will issue a decision as quickly as possible. They know what's at stake here, which is they know that some people you know, will feel more comfortable with the vaccine once they are we talking weeks months. I think it's possible we will see something toward the end of the summer or early early fall. But you know, the bottom line is the FDA has to pursue its process thoroughly and completely. What we don't want Lulu is we don't want people to say Oh, this was a rushed process. They're going to be careful about this, but they're going to move as quickly as they can. Dr Murthy. Did we drop mask mandates too soon, though, looking at these rising infection numbers, I mean, President Biden declared victory was that too early? Wasn't mine did not declare victory. What He did declare signs of progress and is a very important point because we are not done with this pandemic by any stretch, and I can tell you from my personal conversations of the president. He knows that, um, bottom line with masks, though, and what they see when the CBC announced six weeks ago or so that people now have the choice about whether to wear masks because people who are fully vaccinated Had both a low risk of both transmitting the virus from getting the virus themselves. That decision did not mean that localities cannot make decisions about mass mandates based on what is happening in their community. And you already starting to see that some communities where vaccination rates are low and where cases are arising, are making the decision to go back. Towards having more restricted mass guidance. And and that's okay. You know you want this guidance Taylor. We've gone beyond the point where we're going to issue a broad mandate for the entire country because there are parts of the country Lulu where vaccination movies are really high, and cases are really low. That may concern, though, is that there are many pockets where vaccination rates are so low. That is where we are seeing the growth of cases, especially driven by the delta very in That surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Lily, take care. Joining me now is NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Hello, Good morning, More than a year into this crisis with more than 600,000 Americans dead. I mean, it hurts to even say that number. The federal government's response is Still subject to the pressures of partisan politics. I mean, what's your assessment of how the Biden administration is handling this next phase of the pandemic? I mean, we just heard Vivek Murthy there. Talking about, you know some of the limitations. Yeah, And as we just heard, he described a strategy that they've been describing for about two months now, which is this idea of just making vaccines available in as many places as possible and and and making it available from trusted sources like family doctors and pediatricians. You know, the other thing that they have been doing is community organizing style door knocking, where volunteers go door to door talking to members of their community about the benefits of vaccines. But What has happened, as the White House has talked about. The strategy is that, uh, right wing politicians, Republican politicians and others on conservative media have have misconstrued what's happening. Uh and and it is then further feeding hesitancy that is clearly out. There they are. They conservatives bristle at the idea of the government trying to tell them what to do, especially when it comes to vaccines. And and conservative politicians have have described this door knocking as if they're coming to find you, which is absolutely not what is happening, and this points to a bind that the White House is in. There are a lot of public health people who are arguing for the White House to put vaccine mandates in place or to publicly advocate for business in schools to put mandates out there..