POTUS Joe Biden ( Photo by Adam Schultz)

Doctor Fauci encourages pregnant women and special populations to get vaccinated.

In Wednesday morning’s press briefing, The White House COVID Response Team made encouraging announcements about the current vaccination supply and administration process, and Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasized the dedication to the safety of the vaccine for special populations of pregnant individuals, children and adolescents, and immunocompromised individuals. 

More than 91 million Americans have received 1 dose of a shot, and America currently leads the world in total vaccinations with an average of over 2 million shots a day. This past Saturday, the United States set an all-time record by vaccinating over 3 million people in one day. 

Fauci defines special populations for vaccine 

Dr. Anthony Fauci clarified who is considered to be part of the special populations for the vaccine and updated where the different pharmaceutical companies are in the process of determining whether or not these populations have a decreased immune response due to their conditions. 

The special populations for the vaccine include pregnant individuals, children and adolescents from the age of birth to 18 years, and immunocompromised individuals undergoing chemotherapy, with conditions like AIDS, or other similar primary or acquired immune system deficiencies. 

An important aspect of this is determining that these individuals have a durable immune response comparable to what has been seen so far in the general population that has received the vaccine. 

In studies launched by  Pfizer/BioNTech, pregnant individuals that have already been vaccinated are now being studied “to evaluate safety and immunogenicity,” said Fauci. He also noted that there is going to be a “transferred protection” from the mother who receives the vaccine to the fetus: something that is seen with other vaccines. 

Studies for children and adolescents are either ongoing or planned for Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson. He also noted that he believes that high school-aged individuals will be able to be vaccinated later this year. 

Even as data from these ongoing studies is accumulated, Dr. Fauci still emphasizes that one’s best option is to get the vaccine if eligible.

Special populations should get the vaccine because, “potential benefit outweighs potential risk,” said Fauci.

Success in vaccine administration 

As part of the hopeful news, the team announced that with the Biden Administration, Pfizer and Moderna have increased the United States’s vaccine supply to 20 million doses, which is double the amount that was going out every week with the previous administration. To ramp up the process even more, President Biden has directed the Department of Human and Health Services to acquire an additional 1 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

“This is wartime,” emphasized the team. 

The President continues to deploy the National Guard to serve as vaccinators, is providing federal support for over 500 community vaccination centers, and is ramping up distribution at 20 high volume federally-run sites in “some of America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods,” said the team. 

The progress, especially the decrease in deaths and hospitalizations per day, is encouraging, but Director of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky reminds us not to get too comfortable.

“[The deaths] are a somber reminder that we must remain vigilant as we scale up our vaccinations across the country,” said Walensky.