Fauci on Johnson & Johnson vaccine: 'Just be really grateful'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPaul knocks YouTube for removing video he posted, points users to competitor Average daily COVID-19 infections topped last summer's peak, CDC says Ron Johnson praises conservative author bashed by Fauci MORE said during a discussion of the recently authorized Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Sunday that people should be “really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines” despite its lower reported efficacy.

On ABC’s “This Week,” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosBiden calls on Cuomo to resign after harassment probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates MORE noted that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has been reported to be 72 percent effective at preventing coronavirus infection, lower than the 95 percent effectiveness reported by the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

"We've got to get away from that chain of thought, George, for the following reason. The only way you really know the difference between vaccines is by comparing them head-to-head. We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious. That's the bottom line," Fauci said.

"This is a good vaccine," he added. "I think we need to pull away from this comparing and parsing numbers until you compare them head-to-head. Just be really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines."

Fauci also said that if someone is offered one of the three vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in the U.S., any would be a good choice.

"The most important thing from a public health standpoint is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as and as expeditiously as possible," Fauci said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, this one is administered in a single shot and does not require deep-freeze storage.

Appearing on CBS's “Face the Nation,” Fauci said that “as soon as the EUA is essentially formalized” for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “you’re going to see a few million doses ... but by the end of March there will be 20 million, and there will be a total of 100 million as we get halfway through the year.”

Asked by CBS’s Margaret Brennan whether that vaccine was less efficacious, Fauci said that was an inaccurate characterization.

“We now have three highly efficacious vaccines,” he said. “The J&J data that just came out — when you have advanced critical disease, there were no hospitalizations and no deaths, that’s good news.”

Brennan also played a clip of South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemSouth Dakota Gov. Noem says she doesn't plan to increase vaccine messaging Republican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance Western US airports face jet fuel shortage MORE (R) receiving a standing ovation for calling his advice “wrong” at the Conservative Political Action Conference and saying her state had seen success in handling the pandemic by emphasizing reducing hospitalizations.

“Go back and look historically at what happened when we tried to open up the economy and open up the economy when we saw a variable degree of adherence” to public health measures, Fauci said, adding that in such cases, the case numbers plateaued “and went right back up and we had yet again another surge.”