Fauci: 'I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me'

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, on Sunday urged Americans to take any of the three "highly efficacious" coronavirus vaccines now available to them and not delay getting one vaccine over another.

His comments come after the US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday authorized Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, adding a third vaccine option for Americans.

"These are three highly efficacious vaccines. I can tell you I have been fully vaccinated with one that was available. It was the Moderna," he told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "If I were not vaccinated now and I had a choice of getting a J&J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me as quickly as possible for the simple reason of what I said a moment ago, we want to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and expeditiously as possible."

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the first single dose Covid-19 vaccine available in the US and is considered 72% effective specifically for the US and offered 86% protection against severe forms of the disease in the country. The vaccine was tested in more than 44,000 people in the US, South Africa and Latin America. Globally, it was 66.1% effective against moderate to severe/critical Covid-19 at least four weeks after vaccination, according to an FDA analysis.

But while Fauci and health experts have touted the vaccine's efficacy against the virus, there is some concern among Americans about its efficacy compared to vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that are about 95% protective.

"You can understand that type of a concern, but in order to really compare vaccines, you have to compare them head-to-head and these were not compared head-to-head," Fauci told Bash.

And while the initial supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is limited -- the company says it only has about 4 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship "immediately" -- it should have 20 million ready by the end of March.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, known as ACIP, will meet on Sunday to set the guidelines for who should get the vaccine. Their vote is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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