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tv   White House COVID-19 Response Team Gives Briefing  CSPAN  March 15, 2021 11:03am-11:42am EDT

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we have had in our country to begin with has just made it more intense. it's been a bad time all around. we are getting around the corner, going in the right direction, but looking back at what we have been through, people will be writing about this and historically pining about it for a long time to come. host: that was dr. fauci yesterday. from the washington post, the idea of vaccine hesitancy. notin facebookg -- noting that facebook has a study of doubts expressed by u.s. use announcer: we are going to take you live to the white house covid-19 response team briefing.
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>> president biden has directed the administration with checks and shots. as he said, help is on the way. the american recovery act signed into law, americans will finally get the support they need, most immediately in the form of checks to american households and relief to businesses under pressure from the pandemic. nearly 30% of adults and nearly two thirds of seniors have now received their first vaccination shot. we are accelerating vaccinations in anticipation of meeting the goal, being ready to open up all vaccinations to all adults by may 1 at the latest. over the last seven days, we are now averaging 2.4 million shots per day.
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for those who pay extremely close attention, there was a delay in data over the weekend, which resulted in a reported cut off time of 11:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 a.m. eastern time on saturday. i'm sure you are following that. for the record, there were 3.2 million shots reported administered on saturday, 2.7 million on sunday. this is a complex effort. and it is the result of the work of tens of thousands of people who are going above and beyond the call of duty. health care providers across the country are doing everything they can to protect americans from getting this infectious disease. doctors, nurses and pharmacists are working around the clock and vaccinating people with a modest reimbursement. this is exactly what are medical professionals have shown the country throughout the pandemic.
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now, today, we are doing more than saying thank you to all the people we call heroes. we are announcing the biden administration will nearly double medicare's reimbursement rates for administering covid vaccines from about $23 a shot to $40 a shot. that's $80 total for a2 dose vaccine. -- a two dose vaccine. this will make it easier for more health care providers to get out into communities and give more shots to people in need. we need this heroic team, in particular, to make sure that our highest risk and underserved populations are cared for. second, thanks to the american rescue plan, the admission will not be covering 100% of the cost for medicaid and children's health insurance beneficiaries to get vaccinated.
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this protects states from bearing any cost associated with the increased medicare reimbursement rates. and the biden administration stands ready to work with states who are interested in increasing their medicaid reimbursement rates for vaccinations, so we can make sure that we have most effectively reached vulnerable communities. this is an important health equity stance as americans have faced the brunt of this crisis and must resort -- resources -- receive resources. what does this mean for people across the country? it means that vaccines will continue to be free to use. do not need -- you do not need insurance, cash or a credit card, or worry about a copayment. you will not get a bill. vaccines are free. they are safe and effective. and it also means doctors,
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nurses and health care providers will be out in your communities administering the vaccines. because the federal government will now pay them more for each shot that they deliver. now, with that i will turn it over to dr. walensky, then dr. fauci, then we will take your questions. dr. walensky: i am glad to be back with you. the cdc's most recent data shows numbers fluctuating between 50000 and 60,000 per day for cases, with the most recent average over 52,000 cases a day. the most recent seven day average of hospital admissions has declined to just over 4700 a day. we continue to see a decline in deaths, with the latest seven day average just over 1200 deaths per day. we have come a long way from where we were in january, but we still have work to do. in some parts of the country, the weather has started to warm
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up, and with the clocks changing this weekend our days are seeing more sunshine. with the coming warmer weather, i know it is tempting to let our guard down, particularly after a hard winter that saw the highest level of cases and deaths during the pandemic so far. this past friday, we some more travelers pass through airports, over 1.3 million. this is the most we have had in a single day since last march, before the who declared a global pandemic. we have seen footage of people enjoying spring break festivities maskless. this is in the context of still 50,000 cases a day. and equally concerning are the resurgence as we are seeing in some european countries, countries that have had similar challenges during the pandemic as the united states. each of these countries has had -- like we are having now, and
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each took an upward trend after disregarded strategies. they took their eye off the ball. i'm pleading with you for the sake of our nation's health, these should be warning signs. case declines last spring climbed again in the summer and that they will climb now as we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more people vaccinated. please follow our recommended public health prevention precautions and be ready to get your vaccine when it is available. we are just starting to turn the corner. the data are moving in the right direction, but where this goes is dependent on whether we do what must be done to protect ourselves and others. we continue to see positive information emerge from our vaccines. a new cdc report published today looking at data from mid-september to mid-february found that those getting both doses of the vaccines in a recommended timeframe -- only
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about 3% missed their second dose. and systems were in place to make sure those doses were not wasted. we also found that 96% of people who got those doses did so within the recommended timeframe, on or within four days of the 21 days. 28 days for the moderna vaccine. these findings are reassuring. they show that our systems are working and people are taking vaccinations seriously, even when it means taking time to show up for their second appointment. it's a remarkable -- it is remarkable what we can do when we are united against the virus. the report also shows a small percentage of people did mr. second dose. it may be hard for some people to get vaccinated for their second dose, but it is essential for everyone who receives two doses to get both shots and get the full protection of these vaccine offers. the cdc is working across the
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government, and with state and local partners, to address barriers to getting both doses. some strategies include working with trusted messengers in communities to spread a science-based messaging on the importance of getting fully vaccinated. partnering with the jurisdictions and providers to schedule both vaccination appointments up front or schedule the second appointment when you get the first. and having systems in place to send appointment reminders, cancel appointments and repurpose second doses to avoid wastage. finally, making available the second single dose of vaccine, johnson & johnson, as an option for those who may prefer a one dose vaccine. importantly, we have a role to play. i encourage those who can commit to help others get vaccinated. this can be as simple as helping family members and other loved ones with scheduling an appointment, reminded them about the appointment, and driving
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them to their appointment. these acts will go a long way toward protecting health and helping to end the pandemic. i want to briefly discuss technical updates to our data on the cdc website. i know that many of you watch our data closely and when you see something change, it could prompt questions. the cdc has moved poured within improvement to correct and how states report data to the cdc and more accurately determining the age of those getting vaccinated. as a result, there was a change in our age distribution of those vaccinated with the percentages in all groups under 75 increasing slightly, and though 75 or older decreasing slightly. this largest shift occurs among people at exactly 75 when more than one million individuals were reclassified as age 74.
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this should not be concerning as we are vaccinating the right cohorts, those who will be 75 in the next 12 months. a key principle is leading with transparency and reflecting this principle i believe it was important for me to clarify this new approach to our public facing data. thank you. i look forward to your questions. dr. fauci: thank you. i will give a brief science update on something that is being asked much more consistently. it's, how do we approach the entire issue of pandemic preparedness currently and for future pandemics? i have the first slide here. there are three components that have been pursued now for some years. the first is pathogens. take out a pathogen you think might be risky in the future. that could be ebola, it could be
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anything. develop platform technologies. we have already spoken about the advances made with mrna technology. the third is one i want to spend a couple minutes on, that is called prototype pathogens. what do we mean by how a prototype pathogen approach helps us for future pandemics? this slide looks complicated, but it is simple because it really tells you that this is all the domenici of the coronavirus is. in red are the human coronaviruses, but noticeably in the yellow boxes are the four that each year because about 50% to 30% of all the common colds that we all experience repetitively, usually during the winter months. so we have been studying these viruses now for decades and decades.
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if you go to the next slide, in 2002, with the appearance of sars, which we all remember. and in 2012, with the appearance of mayors -- mers, which we all remember, we got more experience within this group of coronavirus is. and the next slide -- nope, go back one. the next slide comes the sars coronavirus ii, which is the current virus that we are dealing with. in the next minute, i point to show you how previous experience has allowed us to make the kind of advances that have been so successful in covid-19 vaccines. next. this is a slide from 2017, when we were attempting to make a vaccine for mers, the middle
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east respiratory syndrome coronavirus. we have found, interestingly, that that spiked protein that we talked about was unstable in its pre-fusion form, mainly the one that we wanted to vaccinate people with. so we made a bunch of mutations to stabilize it and to have what would be a successful mers covid ii vaccine. however, given the fact that it's smoldering right now. and even though we are pursuing the vaccine for mers, we used that same knowledge that we gained from the prototype pathogens of coronaviruses, and on the next slide what you see is what we are dealing with now. that squiggly structure on the right-hand part of the slide is the spike protein that the messenger rna codes for, that
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the vectors express. that is a soluble protein that we have using in th salafie -- the sonar fee -- they all use the same structure. we did not start doing this in january of 2020. this was literally decades of fundamental research on the broad prototype pathogens of coronavirus. thes are the kindse of things we will be doing with other viruses that could pose risks as future pandemics. let may stop and go back to andy. mr. slavitt: thinking. let's take questions -- thank you. .
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let's take questions. >> a question about the variants. the cdc had predicted that the u.k. variant would be dominant in the u.s. in march. is it yet? is it dominant in certain states? which ones? what effect is that having on the trajectory? dr. walensky: i can start with that. it's not evenly distributed across the united states. we do have it reported in 50 jurisdictions over 4700 cases, thus far, and that is just based on what we are sequencing. in some states, florida and california, it is up to 25%. in other states it is lower. our model projects by early april it will be the dominant variant. >> next question will go to april ryan.
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april: a couple of questions. do you by any chance have solid numbers at this point on how many people have been vaccinated successfully, with both vaccines, as well as the one from johnson & johnson? do you have adequate numbers of the breakdown on minorities, because there is now a report from brilliant corners that talks about the reason why black people have not gotten it. it's not with the original thought was about tuskegee. it was basically the hesitancy -- it was about misinformation or no information. have you found something? mr. slavitt: doctor? dr. walensky: we update our numbers every day. i can tell you that 37.5 million people have received two doses or are fully vaccinated.
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107.6 million people have received at least one dose. i do not have off of the top of my head the racial breakdown, but that is available on the cdc website. we still have a lot to learn with regards to why some communities are not choosing to be vaccinated. some have been more hesitant. i would be reluctant to say it's the same reason for every community. we have to meet people where they are and tried to get all communities vaccinated. we have to understand there is not a singular underlying reason, but many. dr. fauci: let me extend on that for a moment. we are also very much involved in trying to get better access for the minority populations. it's not just the idea of hesitancy, but the fact that we have been -- you heard the president himself say it clearly -- with the community vaccine centers, with the community
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health centers, with the pharmacies we are giving vaccines to, particularly in areas where minorities are represented, as well as a mobile unit for going out -- we are right now being very active in going out in a proactive way to make sure that any inequities that exist we can essentially eliminate. and that will be one of the things that we are putting effort into going forward. >> usa today. >> ok, thanks for taking my question. we are hearing so much about other countries requiring some type of vaccination proof to enter those countries. is there anything under discussion at the federal level to provide some type of vaccine
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passport? mr. slavitt: it is an important question as more people get vaccinated. americans are asking the question, how will i be able to demonstrate that i've been vaccinated? we have core beliefs about that. one is that it is not the role of the government to hold that data into do that. but we believe that there is a right way and a way that is not as good. the right way is it should be private. the data should be secure. and the access to it should be free. it should be available digitally and in paper. and in multiple languages. and it should be open source. so, those are the right kind of principles for someone to be able to have, or to be able to demonstrate that they have had a vaccine. we know that there are efforts
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underway, led by nonprofit collaboratives and the private sector, all working on that type of thing. next? > and clarity at abc -- anne clarity at abc. anne: hi, i wanted to ask about the study that found that -- in schools might be safe as long as they are masked. are you revisiting the cdc guidance on this? can you tell us where the number came from? was that ever studied with masks? dr. walensky: we are looking at this carefully. the data came from early studies from respiratory viruses, flu viruses, as well as sars and other coronaviruses. and how far aerosols and
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droplets can go in that context. as soon as we put out our guidance, one of the biggest challenges we were aware of is the fact schools weree having a hard time with the guidance, and that prompted more study to say is six feet necessary with masking? you are remarking on the first study that was published with a look at three feet versus six feet. it was in massachusetts schools, where there was 100% mask wearing. and when there was 100% mask wearing, there were similar infection rates at three feet versus six feet. as well as with the staff when they were amassed. -- masked. the question prompted more study to be done. so we are revisiting our guidance in that context. mr. slavitt: next question. >> sheriffs dina bloomberg.
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-- shara stein at bloomberg. are you with us? mr. slavitt: let's take the next question. >> we will come back. next. >> i was hoping you might be able to explain what your assessment is of the early rollout of their johnson & johnson vaccine? the current number is showing 3.7 million distributed. this has been distributed for a couple weeks now . are you seeing hesitancy with that shot versus the others? mr. slavitt: let me ask dr.
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fauci, for people who have not heard the review before, for you to talk about the johnson & johnson vaccine. and how people should view it relative to the other two vaccines. and then i will go into the question more specifically. dr. fauci: just to reiterate what we have said multiple times on these briefings, that we have three highly efficacious, safe vaccines that are now available to the american public. they have not been compared one to the other. the only way to effectively do that would be head-to-head comparisons. that's why you will hear us say continuously that the way to look at it is there are three vaccines that are highly efficacious. if you go into a place and you have a certain vaccine available to you, take that vaccine rather than waiting for another
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vaccine. because all three of them are highly efficacious. mr. slavitt: and i will address the other part of the question. we watch the data incredibly closely. we do not have reason for concern at this point. to remind everybody, the johnson & johnson vaccine came out with a relatively small amount of doses. given that, we know that states are metering the -- how they are putting out the doses to be more straight-lined. and third, that we are seeing a continue to ramp. this weekend, we saw 300,000 johnson & johnson doses. so, i think it continues to climb. i think the key operative word in your question is early. by the time we get to the end of the month, i believe we will see the pattern where we expected to be. next question.
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>> hi. you are there? great. >> tell me why you decided to change the reimbursement number for the medicare administration of vaccines. can you also talk, it looks like you are doing more public service announcements to promote vaccinations, so what is the budget for that? mr. slavitt: i think that cms, who focuses on making sure that our seniors and our nation's people who are living although, fixed incomes -- on low, fixed incomes are receiving reliable care, as the rest of the country does get. the level of reimbursement, particularly in hard-to-reach communities -- asking people to
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do mobile vans, reach out in the communities, and make the extra effort to meet people where they are to reimburse them. we believe that the medical professionals on the front lines in the vaccination effort, linee pandemic -- need to be taken care of. we think that is going to do the job of increasing vaccinations and improving equity, and that is the reason behind it. your second question was about education campaigns, is that what it was? >> yes. mr. slavitt: let me say this, the latest data shows, from my belief, that 69% of americans are definitive in saying they have taken -- have had a vaccine or plan to take a vaccine. that is significantly higher, 10 points higher, then it was a
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short while ago and more significant than when the biden administration began. we think this is for a number of reasons. these are very good vaccines with an incredible track record, large clinical trials, years, as dr. fauci indicated, of research into the, and many americans got vaccinated early. the people who i think have been watching this and seeing the process and seeing how it has had an impact on them other communities, they increasingly make someone want to take the vaccination. we believe, in some respects, the easiest education effort ever. we let people see the truth and not get information on, say, facebook where there is less reliable information, people are capable of making these decisions. we know that people are not looking to be convinced by the
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government or some other entity. they want to have conversations with people locally, whether it is a doctor, pharmacist, or other people they trust, and our job, and the cdc have been doing a marvelous job, is to get reliable information out to people. these briefings are another example of this. clear scientific information, good and bad. we will be supporting that effort with all kinds of additional education efforts including paid efforts, including other types of conversation, but it is most important that the people who are the local, trusted people continue to have the reliable information about these vaccines. we believe that will continue the pattern that has already begun, which is more and more people will be comfortable taking the vaccine. >> we are going to squeeze one more question in from brian.
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reporter: thanks. i will be brief. i want to follow up on april ryan's question about the millions that have been fully vaccinated. 30% of the adult and 20% of seniors had received some vaccination. our the 20% seniors 20% of the total number or is that a subset of all adults? secondly, if we use the number of shots that we are getting on a daily basis, the number of new cases, and the number of people who have been fully vaccinated, can you use those metrics to give us a better idea of when we will either reach herd immunity or be in the clear? when can we start sharing our dosage of vaccine with our allies and neighbors internationally? mr. slavitt: that sounds like an
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s.a.t. math question. the numbers may have not come through clearly. we are talking about close to two thirds of seniors and close to 30% of all adults that have received the first shot. i think it is important for reasons that both dr. walensky and dr. fauci relate that people get the second shot, largely because of the durability and variants. as we report these numbers out this is to report on the progress and hard work of tens of thousands of people, but by no means should be perceived as declaring victory. there is much more work to do. i think the question you are asking in some sense is when will we reach herd immunity, when will have enough doses, etc.? as the president articulated last week we believe that we will have enough for the adult
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population produced by the end of may. sometime after that those vaccinations will have occurred and it is with that that the president indicated if we all do our part, by the fourth of july, we should be able to take the really important step to bringing the people back into our lives. that is "if." that is on all of us. no matter what matthew use, we will have enough vaccine. we need everybody that has been doing this important work to keep doing it, and if we do that, we should be in a position around then when the adult population will have the vaccines they need. if you are asking questions about our supply, we have indicated there are other pieces of the supply important to us
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and dr. fauci mentioned this. teenagers, adolescents, potential booster shots down the road, other things. it is a big equation with lots of scenarios and our job is to be prepared for every scenario. having said that i think there was part of your question about the world? maybe i can ask dr. fauci to talk about the efforts we have undertaken already, even as we vaccinate our country, to make sure we are playing the leadership role. dr. fauci: yes, thank you, andy. as you know on the first day of the president's tenure he had me go out early in the morning and make a speech to the executive board of who saying we are going to rejoin and going to be part of covax. that means we have made a commitment of $4 billion the
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united states will be giving to covax which is a multi organization, multicountry effort to help those countries that do not have the resources to be able to vaccinate their people. in addition, it has become clear that after we get our people in the united states vaccinated -- and remember, we have suffered terribly with over 530,000 deaths thus far, so our responsibility getting our people vaccinated first before we start giving doses to other countries, which we will be doing if and when we have surplus which it looks like we will -- but that will not occur until we actually have our people vaccinated. the $4 billion has already been implemented. $2 billion already and $2 billion to come.
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we are very interested in the plight of other countries. if i could just make one statement part of the question? we cannot get fixated on herd immunity. we should just be concerned about getting as many vaccinated as we possibly can. herd immunity is an elusive number. we made a projection of what it will likely be. i have said somewhere between 70% and 85%, but we do not know that for sure. rather than fixating on that why don't we say, get as many vaccinated as quickly as you can and every day that goes by with more than 2 million doses going into people we are getting closer and closer to controlling this pandemic. thank you, andy. mr. slavitt: thank you. thank you for listening in and i want to thank the doctors, nurses, physicians, people
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around the country who have been, and continue to be, part of this extraordinary effort. we will be here wednesday to do this again. thank you. announcer: more live coverage coming up today from the white house at 12:30 eastern. the press secretary will hold a briefing with reporters. later this afternoon president biden will talk about the recent release package. live coverage starts at 1:45 eastern on c-span and online at or listen with the radio app. ♪ announcer: you are watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span was created by america's television companies in 1979. today we are brought to you by these companies who provide c-span2 viewers as a public service. ♪ announcer: the senate comes in
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at 3:00 p.m. eastern to continue work on president biden's cabinet nominees. the vote at 5:30 p.m. on interior secretary. later they may take votes for nominees for small business administrator, u.s. trade representative, and javier beccera. they expect to work on women's rights and immigration bills, providing a path to citizenship for migrant farmworkers and children. watch the house live on c-span, the senate on c-span2. announcer: tonight on the communicators. founder and ceo of girls who code on what her company is doing to close the gender gap in technology. >> my parents came as refugees and i have had a job since i was 12 years old.
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in 2010 i found myself running for congress. i would go into these computer science classrooms and i would see lines and lines of boys, clamoring to be the next mark zuckerberg. i knew that those jobs paid pretty well. almost one under $20,000 and it did not make -- almost $12,000 and it did not make sense to me. i wanted to build a program to teach girls to code. announcer: tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on the communicators on c-span2. announcer: next north carolina governor roy cooper and microsoft executive mike humphreys joint politico for a discussion about the pandemic. they talk about how states are combating the virus, vaccine distribution and returning to a sense of normalcy.


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