Richard Besser, who served as acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under former President Barack Obama, said the U.S. is better off continuing to focus on getting patients both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine despite the slow rollout.
On CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith,” Besser agreed with comments made earlier on Monday by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. During a White House Covid-19 briefing, Fauci said that staying on course for two doses gives us the clearest path to protecting people from the virus and its expanding number of variants.
“I’d go with Dr. Fauci on this one,” Besser said. “I have concerns that if we go to a one-dose regimen, we could be providing people with suboptimal levels of protection.”
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration based on the protection they provide after two doses, given at separate times. Because of the slower-than-expected rollout of the vaccine, along with the Covid-19 variants popping up across the country, some scientists have recommended the distribution of single vaccines to more people rather than double doses to fewer patients.
Besser, who now serves as president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also said that it’s too soon for states to start opening bars and restaurants to bigger groups of people. He said that while evidence shows we can safely open schools, social indoor gatherings could lead to wider outbreaks “if we let our guard down.”