A rush transcript of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” airing on Sunday, October 17, 2021 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the “This Week” transcript archive .
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC CO-ANCHOR: Now for the latest on the COVID pandemic, let's bring in Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Fauci, the FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended booster doses for the J&J vaccine but the advice is for all people over 18 to get the shot, even after just two months. We know this vaccine was not as effective as others. So should those 15 million people who got the vaccine be concerned given these recommendations?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NAT'L INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES & WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: No, not at all, Martha. I think that they should feel good about it because what the advisors to the FDA felt is that given the data that they saw, very likely this should have been a two dose vaccine to begin with.
So the idea of making a recommendation that people who originally received J&J should receive a second dose 18 or older with none of the restrictions about whether or not you're at a high risk or not at a high risk, is that everyone who received that first dose of J&J who are 18 and older should receive it.
So I think that's a very good thing. And I think it's very favorable for those who have received the J&J vaccine. I don't see that as a problem at all.
RADDATZ: But, Dr. Fauci, the panel was also looking at new data that suggest J&J recipients may be better off getting a booster shot from the more effective Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Is that a better solution?
FAUCI: You know, that is true, the data you refer to, that if you boost people who have originally received J&J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J&J.
However, you're talking about laboratory data, which very often are reflective of what you would see clinically. But the data of boosting the J&J fist dose with a J&J second dose is based on clinical data. So what's going to happen is that the FDA is going to look at all those data, look at the comparison, and make a determination of what they will authorize.
Once an authorization is made, then the ACIP, or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, that advises the CDC, will then make a recommendation of what people who have been receiving and had received the J&J should do. So it's going to be a process of authorization first, and then a recommendation after considering all the data.
RADDATZ: And what do you think, Dr. Fauci? How would they be better off, for all those people out there who took a J&J?
FAUCI: You know, Martha, I think it's going to be variable depending upon who you are. For example, a woman of child-bearing age who would have almost no issues at all with a possible adverse event of myocarditis, which you see rarely but you do see it, with the MRNA vaccine, that person might want to opt for that approach. If you're a young man who does have that very, very rare risk of getting myocarditis, you might want to take the J&J route.
So really I think it's going to be individual so what likely will happen is that both the FDA in their authorization and the CDC will likely give a degree of flexibility based on the individual situation.
RADDATZ: And the advisory committee also recommended a third dose of the Moderna shots for those over 65, just like the Pfizer as well. What's the timeline for expanding those categories to different age groups?
FAUCI: Well, that's going to depend — well, that's a great question, Martha. That's going to really depend on the data that comes in, because what we're dealing with, we're dealing with data rolling in real time — not only from the cohorts that the CDC is following, but also in real-time, we're getting very important data from Israel. Because as I've said so often, Israel is about a month or a month a half — a month and a half ahead of us temporally with their vaccination, and with that the data that they're seeing about the waning of immunity, as well as the advantage of boosting people at different age groups.
So, the data we're starting to see from Israel indicates that even in the somewhat younger group, for example, from 40 to 60, there's a real benefit in getting the booster shot.
So, what we'll be doing here in the United States, both through the FDA and the CDC will be to following this data as they accumulate in real time, and any modification of the recommendations will be based on that data as they come in.
RADDATZ: And as for children, I know you believe that it will be early November before 5 to l1-year-olds can get vaccinated?
FAUCI: Well, the timeline, Martha, is that the FDA will be looking at the data from Pfizer — I believe it's October 26th — they'll make a regulatory determination. And then likely, the next week, which would probably be the first couple of days in November, then the CDC will do what they do. They'll have their Advisory Committee and Immunization Practices look at the data and make a recommendation.
So, I think the timeline that we discussed previously is really still on the timetable that we spoke about.
RADDATZ: And, Dr. Fauci, lastly, we know the best way to keep safe is to be vaccinated. But what are your guidelines for the upcoming holidays? Will you be giving out holiday candy? What do we do Thanksgiving, Christmas and the other holidays?
FAUCI: Well, Martha, I believe strongly that — particularly in the vaccinated people, if you're vaccinated and your family members are vaccinated, those who are eligible, that is obviously very young children and not yet eligible, that you can enjoy the holidays. You can enjoy Halloween, trick-or-treating, and certainly Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas with your family.
That's one the reasons why we emphasized why it's so important to get vaccinated, not only for your own safety, for that of your family, but also for the good of the community, to keep the level of infection down. When you do that, there's no reason at all why you can't enjoy the holidays in a family way, the way we've traditionally done it all along.
RADDATZ: Okay. Well, that's very good news. Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Dr. Fauci.
FAUCI: Good to be with you. Thank you for having me.
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