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FDA chief: Americans' hesitancy to get vaccine a 'significant problem'

FDA chief: Americans' hesitancy to get vaccine a 'significant problem'
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Dr. Stephen HahnStephen HahnThe Hill's Morning Report - President Biden, Vice President Harris begin work today FDA chief says he was 'disgusted' by Capitol riots, considered resigning Overnight Health Care: Biden to quickly release nearly all vaccine doses | FDA chief urges states to allow vaccination of lower-priority groups | Biden previews COVID-19 proposal 'in the trillions of dollars' MORE, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said on Sunday that resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine by some Americans is a “significant problem” and officials are working to address those “fears and concerns.”

Host Martha Raddatz noted during Hahn’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that recent polling shows between one-quarter and one-third of Americans do not want to receive a vaccine.

“That is a significant problem,” Hahn responded. “I mean, if you think about how we get out of this pandemic, we have to continue our mitigation efforts right now. That is so important, mask wearing, et cetera.

“But the way we see light at the end of the tunnel, the way we get through this is to achieve herd immunity. And that means we need to vaccinate a significant number of people in this country, including those who are hesitant,” he added.

Hahn also said officials “need to address their fears and concerns.”

“We need to roll this out in a way that provides confidence to people. But we also need to be transparent. What do we know? What do we don’t know?” he said.

“And our process — this is our contribution to the transparency. We want the data to be known. We wanted that advisory committee to be public. Because we wanted everyone in America -— around the world, frankly, to see what information was available and why we made the judgment we made about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.”

His comments came as the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine left a Michigan warehouse and are expected to be administered as soon as Monday.

The FDA last week approved Pfizer’s vaccine. An FDA panel meets this week to consider a vaccine candidate from Moderna.