Fauci calls out a nasty job vaccinating the aged

dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Entities to review President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal for the National Institute of Health on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 17, 2022.

Anna Rose Layden | swimming pool | Reuters

dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, has slammed China’s Covid lockdowns as “draconian” and said the Beijing government should focus on vaccinating the elderly.

“Vaccinating the elderly wasn’t well done and the vaccine that they had wasn’t a particularly effective vaccine,” Fauci told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday as he prepares to step down as director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious diseases later this month.

Fauci said lockdowns are warranted only as a temporary measure to serve a larger public health goal that will make society safer when it reopens. But China’s tight Covid controls seem to have no endgame, he said.

“If there was one piece of advice, it’s pretty simple, and it doesn’t come from me alone – it comes from any number of people involved in this outbreak: Do whatever it takes to vaccinate your people and fortify them with a highly effective vaccine said Fauci, who has decades of experience managing infectious diseases, from the HIV pandemic to the Ebola outbreak.

Rare protests against Covid lockdowns and strict quarantine procedures erupted across China over the weekend. While most of the world depends on vaccines to prevent serious illnesses so society can return to normal despite the virus’ continued spread, China has enforced a zero-Covid policy aimed at quelling outbreaks.

China uses a domestically developed vaccine called CoronaVac, which is manufactured by Sinovac. The shots contain killed viruses that trigger an immune response. Beijing has not approved Pfizer and Moderna’s messenger RNA vaccines.

“The effectiveness of vaccines made in China is not at the level of vaccines that have been used in the United States, particularly Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines,” Fauci said.

A person walks past a poster encouraging elderly people to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) near a residential complex in Beijing, China, March 30, 2022. Picture taken March 30, 2022 .

Tingshu Wang | Reuters

Data on the effectiveness of Sinovac-CoronaVac against the Omicron variant is limited, according to the World Health Organization. Omicron has evolved into increasingly immune-avoidable subvariants that have undermined the effectiveness of all Covid vaccines.

Hong Kong scientists found in a study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases that two doses of CoronaVac were about 58% effective in preventing serious illness or death in people aged 80 and over during an omicron BA.2 wave from December 2021 to March 2022 impede. According to the study, two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were 87% effective in preventing serious illness or death in this age group.

People 80 and older who received three doses of CoronaVac had 97% protection from serious illness and death. This was equivalent to the 97 percent protection offered by three doses of Pfizer, according to the study.

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The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a September report that vaccination rates for older adults in China are lower than in other countries because the elderly are skeptical about the vaccine being developed in the country.

Clinical trials for China’s vaccine did not include enough adults aged 60 and older, so there is insufficient data on its safety and effectiveness in this age group, according to the report.

The vaccination campaign in China started with people in key positions, followed by adults aged 18 to 59, and only later opened up to older adults.

Chinese officials said on Tuesday about 66% of adults over 80 have received their basic vaccinations. Previously released figures showed that around 40% of this group had received a booster shot by November 11th.

CNBC Health & Science

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Correction: This story has been corrected to accurately describe that nearly 66% of those over 80 have completed their first vaccination course.

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