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CDC Head: FDA Could ‘Streamline’ Omicron Booster Authorization As ‘Much Of The Vaccine’ Is ‘The Same’

   DailyWire.com
Vaccine.
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On Sunday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with host Martha Raddatz. During the segment, Raddatz asked Walensky about how quickly the FDA could approve a variant-specific vaccine from Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson.

“One of the things about a booster, about a variant-specific booster — I know Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson say they could all do this fairly quickly, within three months, but then you have FDA approval,” Raddatz said. “Is there any world where you can see that moving much faster given we’ve already been through this?”

Walensky said that while she would “have to defer to the FDA” on certain things, the organization is “already in conversations about streamlining the authorization … of an Omicron-specific vaccine, partially because much of the vaccine is actually exactly the same and really it would just be that mRNA code that would have to change.”

“So, those conversations are ongoing and certainly, FDA will move swiftly, and CDC will move swiftly right thereafter,” Walensky added.

Raddatz also asked the CDC director if she would like to see a “nationwide” mask “mandate.”

“I would rather see people get vaccinated, boosted, and follow our recommendations,” Walensky replied. “I’d rather not have requirements in order to do so. People should do this for themselves.”

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

RADDATZ: Do you have a line — I know Dr. Hoge told me that they’d probably need a new vaccine, a variant-specific vaccine, if the level of efficacy got below 50%. Do you have a notional line that — at what point we would need this variant specific booster?

WLENSKY: You know, I think efficacy, it’s a really interesting, important question, but efficacy is sort of in itself on a spectrum. So is it efficacy of preventing disease entirely, preventing infection entirely, even if it just leads to a runny nose? Or is it efficacy of making sure people stay out of the hospital and prevent death. Certainly, we want to do the latter absolutely first, and we’d really like to do the former as well, and those are the studies that are ongoing right now.

RADDATZ: And one more thing Dr. Hoge told me of those mutations, which you talked about. He said it had the potential for a worst case scenario. We heard President Biden lay out the plans to combat this, but if it is the worst case scenario, do you fear that?

WALENSKY: You know, I think we have so many more tools now than we did a year ago, we know so many things that work against Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, regardless of the variant that we’ve seen before. I do think that we are going to — that getting a lot of immunity right now will be critically important, masking up. Right now, we have 80% of our counties that are still in high or substantial risk of disease with Delta. Doing all of those things will help prevent a more more aggressive Omicron surge.

RADDATZ: And the masking, but President Biden made clear, even before we know anything about it, that a mask mandate is not going to come back.

WLENSKY: The CDC recommendations have been clear; we recommend masking in public indoor settings, in areas that have high or substantial transmission, and that’s over 80% of our counties right now. So, of course those mandates and requirements are going to happen at the county level, at the policy-maker level, but our recommendations have been crystal clear.

RADDATZ: Would you rather see a nationwide mandate?

WALENSKY: I would rather see people get vaccinated, boosted, and follow our recommendations. I’d rather not have requirements in order to do so. People should do this for themselves.

RADDATZ: You know, one of the things about a booster, about a variant-specific booster — I know Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson say they could all do this fairly quickly, within three months, but then you have FDA approval. Is there any world where you can see that moving much faster given we’ve already been through this?

WALENSKY: Yeah, you know, much of that I would have to defer to the FDA, but they’re already in conversations about streamlining the authorization of this, of an Omicron- specific vaccine, partially because much of the vaccine is actually exactly the same and really it would just be that mRNA code that would have to change. So, those conversations are ongoing and certainly, FDA will move swiftly, and CDC will move swiftly right thereafter.

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