Report: Fauci says US may not need AstraZeneca COVID vaccine to reach goal

Fauci feels ‘we have enough vaccine to fulfill all of our needs without invoking AstraZeneca’

Empty vials that contained the COVID-19 vaccines available in Hungary, with left to right, AstraZeneca, Moderna, A and B of Sputnik V, Sinopharm, BioNTech, are seen on a table in a general practitioner's office in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, Thursday, April 1, 2021. The national vaccination campaign against the coronavirus continues in Hungary. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP) (Attila Balazs, MTVA - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund)

The United States could do well in its fight to vaccinate millions against COVID-19 even without authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Reuters on Thursday.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was once thought to be among the leaders in the immunization fight, but it has ran into problems in recent months. It has been authorized in dozens of counties, but not in the U.S. Earlier in March, many countries, including Germany, suspended their use of AstraZeneca over a blood clot issue. Most countries have restarted its use.

The U.S. has a goal of getting 200 million shots into arms in President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the White House, said the U.S. may not even need AstraZeneca’s vaccine to reach that goal. He told Reuters that the U.S. has enough contracts with other vaccine makers to vaccinate its entire population. The U.S. may even have enough booster shots in the fall of 2021, he said.

“That’s still up in the air. My general feeling is that given the contractual relationships that we have with a number of companies, that we have enough vaccine to fulfill all of our needs without invoking AstraZeneca,” Fauci told Reuters on whether the U.S. will use AstraZeneca doses.

The AP reported March 31 that Germany’s medical regulator said its tally of the rare blood clots reported by March 29 had increased to 31. Some 2.7 million doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in Germany so far. Nine of the people died and all but two of the cases involved women, who were aged 20 to 63, the Paul Ehrlich Institute said.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has pledged to provide 20 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. government by the end of March, and 80 million more doses by the end of May. However, on Wednesday, March 31, a batch of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine failed quality standards and can’t be used.

A federal official said Wednesday evening the Biden administration’s goal can be met without additional J&J doses.

As of Friday, April 2, the U.S. has fully vaccinated more than 50 million people while nearly 100 million have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.

Michigan has reported more than 4.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Wednesday, with 34.5% of residents having received at least one dose.

Looking for COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Detroit: Track openings, clinics, appointments

Authorized COVID vaccines in the U.S. as of April 2, 2021:

Under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUAs), the following age groups are authorized to receive vaccination:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: ages ≥16 years
  • Moderna: ages ≥18 years
  • Janssen: ages ≥18 years

As of April 2, 2021, the CDC says children and adolescents outside these authorized age groups should not receive COVID-19 vaccination at this time.

Read more: Pfizer vaccine safe, effective for young teens, company says

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.