CDC Director on COVID-19 Pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Putting the pandemic behind us will depend on the American people embracing the vaccine.

That’s the message from the director of the Centers for Disease Control. He spoke with the executive dean of the UT Health Science Center College of Medicine on Monday.

“I think the biggest risk to us to putting an end to this pandemic which we are on a path to accomplish hopefully by the end of this year is vaccine hesitancy,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC Director, said.

On the same day Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine became available to millions of Americans, Redfield spoke with University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Executive Dean of the College of Medicine.  

The pair discussed the lessons from the pandemic.

Redfield explained he would like to see more than 95 percent of people get vaccinated, saying it’s remarkable to have two COVID-19 vaccines developed in less than a year. 

He says in these large trials,  a concerted effort was made to include African Americans and Hispanics. He also says the trials are carefully monitored.

“Clearly the two RNA based vaccines Pfizer and Moderna really have an excellent safety profile. All of this data has been made available to the public the FDA has made it all public. You know with any product going into the human body there’s always a risk of an anaphylactic reaction,” Redfield said.

The goal is to have everyone vaccinated by the fall of 2021.

“We don’t know enough yet about what the antibody threshold is for protection. We would learn that I would imagine in the next three to six months but right now our recommendation is not to have the presence of antibodies deter someone from getting a vaccination,” Redfield said.

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