Take the primary one accessible, says Mayo Clinic CEO

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, CEO of the Mayo Clinic, urges Americans to take the first Covid-19 vaccine available to them.

“My message is very simple: don’t wait for a specific vaccine,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday. “Get the first vaccine on the market because its benefits far outweigh the potential risk.”

Two coronavirus vaccines have been approved in the US by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use – one from Pfizer and BioNTech and the other from Moderna. The Moderna vaccine launches this week after receiving limited release on Friday. The first Americans outside of clinical trials received images of the Pfizer vaccine last week.

Currently, healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities are given priority in the first round of vaccination. However, as the number of doses available increases, a wider range of people can be immunized. On Sunday, a panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that key workers and people aged 75 and over should come first.

Doctor Diana Rodriguez will receive the Covid-19 vaccine with the first batch of Moderna’s vaccine on December 21, 2020 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines, both of which are two vaccines, have shown strong efficacy in clinical trials. Pfizer reported 95% effectiveness in its large-scale study, while Moderna’s vaccine was more than 94% effective in preventing Covid.

“Having a vaccine that is 95% effective, like the two vaccines we currently have, is a medical miracle,” said Farrugia, who has headed the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, since January 2019.

Other vaccines could get FDA approval next year, which could help expand the pool of Americans who could get the vaccinations. Johnson & Johnson expects to receive data from its late-stage vaccination study early next year and may seek emergency approval in February.

The vaccines come at a critical time in the global pandemic. According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day average of new infections on Monday was 215,429, the sixth highest ever. The record high came last week. The last 7-day average of daily new deaths in the US was 2,655, the worst run rate ever.

“It’s important that people are trained and then vaccinated. This is the only way we can get out of this pandemic,” Farrugia said.

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