Fauci says he has serious doubts Russian COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective

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Dr Anthony Fauci told ABC News’s Deborah Roberts he seriously doubts the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V and touted by President Vladimir Putin, has been proven to be safe and effective.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shared the comments exclusively with National Geographic in a virtual panel discussion moderated by Roberts. The discussion is scheduled to air Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.

“I hope the Russians have indeed, definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Fauci said. “I seriously doubt they did that. ”

Russia’s health ministry approved the vaccine after just two months of testing.

More than 20 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. COVID-19 has killed more than 737,000 people around the world.

In the worst-affected country, the United States, at least 5,094,565 people have been diagnosed and at least 163,465 have died.

Putin told officials in a televised meeting that the vaccine “forms strong immunity” and that the vaccine had already been given to his adult daughter. The Russians plan to start administering doses to frontline workers by the end of August.

“Having a vaccine, Deborah, and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things,” Fauci discussed with Roberts. He added that the United States was looking for at least a dozen vaccines and “if we wanted to risk hurting a lot of people, or giving them something that didn’t work, we could start doing it, you know, the next week if we wanted to. But that’s not how it works. “

Putin said the Russian drug had “passed all necessary tests,” but with just two months of testing, experts fear it is safe for large-scale use.

Fauci said he had heard no evidence to convince him that he was really ready, and that Americans must understand that “the announcements of the Chinese or the Russians [they] to have a vaccine “different from those made in the United States” because we have a way of doing things in this country that we care about safety. ”

Fauci also told Roberts that his family had received death threats and the federal government had to provide them with security services.

“It seems inconceivable, if you just think about it,” Fauci continued, “that when you try to promote public health principles to save people’s lives and keep them healthy… it is interpreted as so far from your own. path. to think that you really want to threaten the person. This is just not a way for our society to really function well and go this route – we have to get over it. ”

It’s part of an exclusive conversation National Geographic is hosting with Dr Anthony Fauci, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser, ABC News correspondents, and the experts on this month’s National Geographic cover story. , “How Devastating Pandemics Change Us”. You can watch the free “Stopping Pandemics” event at 1 p.m. ET Thursday by signing up at StoppingPandemics.com. The conversation is moderated by Deborah Roberts of ABC News.

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