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Dr Fauci says the US may not need AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine even if it wins regulatory approval as Moderna gets the green light to speed up shot rollout with bigger vials

 Dr Fauci has said the US may not need AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine even if it wins regulatory approval, as Moderna is given the green light to speed up its rollout with bigger vials.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the White House, told Reuters Thursday that America has enough contracts with other vaccine makers to inoculate its entire population even without approving the AstraZeneca vaccine which is being used in dozens of other countries. 

The US has so far authorized and rolled out three COVID-19 vaccines - Pfizer and Moderna with their two-shot vaccines and Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. 


Fauci said the supply coming from these three drugmakers will not only be enough to get all Americans vaccinated but may also be enough for booster shots to be given out in the fall.  

Dr Fauci has said the US may not need AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine even if it wins regulatory approval

Dr Fauci has said the US may not need AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine even if it wins regulatory approval

'My general feeling is that given the contractual relationships that we have with a number of companies, that we have enough vaccine to fulfill all of our needs without invoking AstraZeneca,' Fauci said. 

'If you look at the numbers [of doses] that we're going to be getting, the amount that you can get from J&J, from Novavax from Moderna if we contract for more, it is likely that we can handle any boost that we need, but I can't say definitely for sure.' 

Fauci added that the potential authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine was still 'up in the air'.  


The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by dozens of countries, excluding the US, but some concerns have been raised in recent months.  

Late last year, the drugmaker and Oxford University published data from an earlier trial with two different efficacy readings as a result of a dosing error. 

Then in March, more than a dozen countries temporarily suspended its use after reports linked it to a rare blood clotting disorder.  

The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have said the benefits of the shot outweigh the risks, but are monitoring the situation.

A woman receives the Moderna vaccine. Moderna was given the green light Thursday to speed up its rollout with bigger vials

A woman receives the Moderna vaccine. Moderna was given the green light Thursday to speed up its rollout with bigger vials

This week, Germany said only people aged 60 and over should receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Meanwhile, also in March, a US health agency said data from the company gave an incomplete picture of its efficacy. 

Days later AstraZeneca published results showing diminished, though still strong, efficacy.

Fauci's comments came the same day Moderna was given the go ahead for two changes to its vaccine that will help speed up getting shots into the arms of Americans. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late Thursday granted Moderna approval to now fill a single vial with up to 15 doses, up from its original vials designed to hold 10 doses. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use by dozens of countries but some concerns have been raised about potential ties to a rare blood clotting disorder

The agency also said providers can safely extract up to 11 doses from the original 10-dose vials, instead of the 10 previously permitted.

Moderna said the approval means its vaccine can now can be supplied in vials containing 11 or 15 doses, and it expects to begin shipping 15-dose vials in coming weeks.

'Both of these revisions positively impact the supply of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which will help provide more vaccine doses to communities and allow shots to get into arms more quickly,' said Peter Marks, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

However, the regulator also warned that without proper syringes and needles it may not be possible for people administering the vaccine to extract more than 13 doses from Moderna's 15-dose vials or 11 from the current vials.

Moderna has so far supplied 100 million doses of its vaccine to the US as of March 29.  

More than 153 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has so far been administered to Americans, with almost a third of the population now having received at least their first shot.

A total of 30 percent of Americans have had their first dose with 16.9 percent fully vaccinated in the less than four months since a New York nurse became the first to get the vaccine.     

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