Fauci: We should be grateful we have three vaccines

Dr. Anthony Fauci says Johnson & Johnson vaccine is effective despite its lower efficacy compared to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Ben Ariel ,

Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci

The US top expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Sunday of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that people should be “really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines” despite its lower reported efficacy.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci was responding to host George Stephanopoulos who noted that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has been reported to be 72 percent effective at preventing coronavirus infection, lower than the 95 percent effectiveness reported by the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

"We've got to get away from that chain of thought, George, for the following reason. The only way you really know the difference between vaccines is by comparing them head-to-head. We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious. That's the bottom line," Fauci replied.

"This is a good vaccine," he added. "I think we need to pull away from this comparing and parsing numbers until you compare them head-to-head. Just be really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines."

Fauci said that if someone is offered one of the three vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization in the US, any would be a good choice.

"The most important thing from a public health standpoint is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as and as expeditiously as possible," he told ABC.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that works with just one dose instead of two.

The FDA said J&J's vaccine offers strong protection against serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85 percent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness.

On Sunday, senior US administration officials said that initial deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should start on Tuesday.