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Dr. Fauci says CDC, FDA likely to make decision on J&J vaccine this week

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he believes the CDC and FDA will make a determination about the temporary pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by Friday. Pool photo by Amr Alfiky/UPI
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he believes the CDC and FDA will make a determination about the temporary pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by Friday. Pool photo by Amr Alfiky/UPI | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he expects U.S. health regulators to make a decision about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by Friday, as more than half of adults have received at least one dose of the three available vaccines.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN's State of the Union he believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration will approve the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine to return in "some manner or form." Pfizer and Moderna require two shots.

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"Now, I don't want to get ahead of the CDC and the FDA and the advisory committee. But I would imagine that what we will see is that it would come back and it would come back in some sort of either warning or restriction," he said.

Fauci did not clarify what kind of restrictions he expected to be placed on the vaccine but said the pause was important to make sure health authorities have "all the information that you need to make that determination" before resuming use of the vaccine.

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"I think to just assume on the basis of six, that you know everything that's going on with this, I think would not be prudent. And, for that reason, they put a pause, take a look, see what's going on, make sure you know the scope of what's going on and then make a decision," he said.

The United States reported 52,737 new COVID-19 cases and 680 deaths through Saturday, bringing its world-leading totals to 31,646,227 infections and 567,071 deaths, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

The nation has also administered 209,406,814 vaccine doses as 39.5% have received at least one dose and 25.4% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Among adults, 50.4% have received at least one shot and 32.5% are fully vaccinated.

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For those 65 and older, it's 81% at least dose and 65.9 completed.

Fauci stressed that it is important for Americans to continue to wear masks, even if they have already been vaccinated, to prevent the spread of the virus amid variants including the B.1.1.7 mutation that has become the dominant strain in the United States.

"In a certain situation, one can get vaccinated, have no clinical disease at all, but get infected and not even know it and have replication of virus in your nasopharynx and inadvertently transmit it to somebody else, who might actually be unvaccinated and get ill. That's the reason why you want to wear a mask there," he said.

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California leads the nation with 3,616,779 cases and 59,768 deaths since the start of the pandemic, adding 2,667 infections and 78 fatalities on Sunday. The state has administered 25,533,215 vaccine doses with 10,149,469 people fully vaccinated.

Second-place Texas added 1,434 new cases and 38 deaths Sunday, bringing its totals to 2,439,892 infections and 48,611 fatalities. Texas has administered 15,852,600 vaccine doses, with 6,421,221 people fully vaccinated.

Florida ranks third with 2,168,901 cases and 34,439 resident deaths since the start of the pandemic, with 6,834 new infections and 35 resident deaths reported Sunday. To date, 12,569,859 vaccines have been administered in Florida with 5,080,273 fully vaccinated.

New York reported 5,704 new COVID-19 cases and 35 deaths on Sunday, bringing its totals to 1,984,929 cases and 51,537 fatalities. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state's positivity rate dropped to 2.35%, its lowest since Nov. 7.

"New York is making tremendous progress in our goal to vaccinate every New Yorker while keeping the infection and hospitalization rates down but variants of the virus remain a concern across the state," said Cuomo.

The state has administered 8,257,745 COVID-19 vaccine doses and 5,596,193 people have been fully vaccinated.

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Illinois reported 2,666 new COVID-19 cases and 10 fatalities on Sunday bringing its total cases to 1,302,241 -- fifth-most in the nation -- and its death toll to 21,663. Illinois has administered 8,054,634 vaccine doses and 3,330,480 people have been fully vaccinated.

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