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tv   White House COVID-19 Response Team Holds Briefing  CSPAN  March 3, 2021 8:34pm-9:04pm EST

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joining the conversation with your phone calls, facebook comments, text in tweets for elizabeth sunday at noon eastern on book tv in-depth on c-span2. and before the program sure to visit c-span to get your copies of her book. >> now a white house club in 19 response team update on vaccine distribution and the latest on positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths other topics include texas plans to reopen with no mask mandate other states removing public health restrictions and vaccinating teachers and childcare workers. >> good morning thank you for joining us. yesterday heard the president announced a new historic partnership to get americans vaccinated more quickly, i want to provide background and how this came together supported by
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the active involvement in the leadership from the u.s. government to of the largest u.s. healthcare and pharmaceutical companies johnson & johnson and merck into a historic manufacturing partnership to span the production of johnson & johnson vaccine as well as take on the complex and delicate process of putting the vaccines into the vials. while these companies are competitors most of the time heated by president biden's call their undertaking a wartime effort to come to the table for the good of the country. as many of you know when we arrived in office on january 20 we learned from johnson & johnson that they were behind on manufacturing, we immediately got to work to fix this to accelerate the process and to think big. we set out to do two things. first increase the production of the vaccine itself frequently referred to as a drug substance
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and second expand our ability to safely transfer the vaccine from drug manufacturing plants into little vials that are shipped all over the country a process called phil and finish. using the defense production act divided the administration agreed to an initial investment of $100 million that will help expand the drug substance manufacturing and convert a merck plan to perform the fill reduction for the johnson & johnson vaccine. with the encouragement and the support of the administration johnson & johnson in the manufacturing partners agreed to take several steps to increase production of the vaccine in the u.s. there operating 24 by seven across facilities to maximize production output at the direction of the president the department of defense providing daily logistical support in the
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administration a team of global experts and equipment manufacturers to support faster ramp-up across all facilities. i want to be clear both of these companies johnson & johnson and merck deserve credit for this approach, they have stepped up as good corporate citizens with the spirit of cooperation the president has called for during this crisis, thanks to everyone's selective actions we are now on track not only to catch up but to have enough vaccine supply for every american adult by the end of may. over the course of the year these actions will double johnson & johnson u.s. capacity to produce drug substance and increase the u.s. capacity for filling finish. finally, i want to credit the execution for the many women in government and the private sector who came together to work
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as a team to move this vaccine so rapidly from authorization into arms with incredible efficiency this vaccine was approved on saturday the cdc reviewed on sunday the same day vaccines were packed and shipped from j&j facilities monday the vaccines arrived and ups vaccine hubs and were delivered to vaccination sites so yesterday, tuesday the first vaccines were administered in states across the country. >> johnson & johnson and merck are not the only ones and not only businesses stepping up. as i highlighted last friday u.s. companies are stepping up to help the country lead its way out of this crisis this leads me too highlight a second announcement of this morning aimed at improving equitable distribution of the vaccines today or than a dozen of
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america's leading health insurance providers announced a new pilot program to get to million of the most vulnerable seniors vaccinated as fast as possible called the vaccine community connectors pilot, the aim is to help vulnerable seniors overcome three of the most challenging current carriers questions about the vaccine, scheduling and transportation. health plans will make outbound calls to unvaccinated americans of over 65 who live in areas of high social vulnerability they will talk to them about vaccine efficacy, safety and the value of vaccinations then they will facilitate vaccine registration and appoint ms. scheduling for seniors they will arrange transportation to and from a vaccination site and ensure seniors get back for a second shot. it will also look to deploy mobile vans into communities of
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need the goal is to get to million of the most moldable seniors vaccinated as soon as possible. this commitment came from organizations who have the call centers, technology community relationships to run up pilot program like this and it comes on the heels of the call to action last week to the private sector to use their resources to help bring it quicker into the crisis. with that i will turn it over to doctor walensky and then to dr. fauci. >> morning and thank you i'm delighted to be back with you today let's get started with an overview of the pandemic we continue to see troubling signs of the trajectory of the pandemic in the u.s. with the cases and deaths continuing to show signs of stalling we knew this would happen as variants emerge and more people in her community but we can still reduce the impact the most recent seven day average cases 66000 is an increase of 3.5%
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from the prior seven days. the most recent seven day average of that increased 2.2% from the previous seven days. too now slightly more than 2000 desperate day. today we are the critical road in the panama, so much can turn in the next few weeks and on the one hand cases in the country are leveling off at rates just on the cusp of the potential to research and the hyper transmission will variant to hijack our subsistence today. on the other hand the exact measures stopped the pandemic are too often to be ignored all the while we are stopped on the verge of capitalizing over his torque the ability to vaccinate the country and just a matter of three or four months, how this
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plays out is up to us in the next three months are pivotal and i'm asking you to protect her nations health enter protect your loved ones whether mandated or not in individuals and communities we can still take the action for others and avoiding travel social distancing and practicing hand hygiene now we must do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. as i said on monday we have a safe and highly effective vaccine following emergency use authorization by the fda and the recommendation by the advisory committee on the practices of the johnson & johnson covid-19 vaccine we saw footage of the doses being administered yesterday less than 48 hours after recommended, this is a
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remarkable achievement more vaccine doses are making our ways into communities make it impossible for more people to get vaccinated as covid 18 in it's a single shot and easier to store and transport we can provide vaccine and were communities in global sites moving forward in yesterday an article detailing the clinical trial on the demonstrated safety and efficacy of the author's vaccine. the report also provided important guidance through the administering it in reports with the same depths discussions this past sunday and monday. cdc has updated its website to provide information for healthcare providers and the public about the johnson & johnson vaccine including information people should know before getting a vaccine and i
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encourage you to check out our website a message and want you to hear from you today has three covid-19 vaccines that are all safe and highly effective in the most important thing you could do is roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated with the first one is available to you and finally i want to share how proud i am taking a leading role in helping to achieve the president's initiative the educative and all school staff through childcare workers are vaccinated i look forward to working with the pharmacy, state and local partners in the days ahead and move the schuylkill work forward take you and look forward to your questions but first of all the tear from dr. fauci. >> they can very much doctor walensky i would like to spend the next couple of minutes addressing the issue of the stars cove into variance in the multifaceted approach to addressing these, if i of the first slide this is a list of
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the variance that we are discussing over the last several weeks just very briefly you know the 117 which was originally the uk has a characteristic of transmissibility's covered relatively well by a current authorized vaccine, more problematic is a south african 351 which is moderately to severely reduced vaccine efficacy about fivefold or so the p1 to originate in brazil with preliminary increase transmissibility in the antibody solicited by previous infection and vaccine may be less effective in our own country where the 427, 429 california variance with preliminary reports of increase transmissibility and disease activity in the new york 526 which recent study shows variable loss of neutralizing activity by some monoclonal antibodies as well as vaccine
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induced in nobodies. so what is the approach, the approach into the future is really four pronged, although very briefly you to these to give you a sampling of the things that are going on and that you can expect, the first thing the ribbon above the vaccination was first and second doses of current eua approved vaccine i can show you on the next slide the pfizer bio intech vaccine by neutralizing antibody after the first and second dose, if you look there at day 21 the time you would be giving the second dose the antibody ties that are there are good enough to suppress inspection but to
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some extent if you look at the date of the degree of efficacy that you do get after one dose but take a look at what happens after the second dose the degree of increase is at least ten fold in both of these age groups that were studied. the reason why this is important if you diminish it as i mentioned on the previous slide if you get a variance that diminishes by five or six phone you are in a bubble of anybody as high as you see from day 28 through dave 35 used to have a considerable cushion and protect. next slide. this is shown on a preprint server were david hoehn is coming looked at the increase resistance of stars cove invariant 351 and 117 but with the 351 he demonstrated a fivefold definition of
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capability of blocking which tells you of fivefold decrease still keeps you with a second dose well within the protective range the next approach is booster doses of the wild type against the wild type virus which is exactly with what pfizer has announced and with other companies we will also be doing. mainly talking about a third toes of the original vaccine for those vaccine regimens that were prime in a boost that's good to begin participants in the phase one trial to evaluate safety tolerability and engine city that study will evaluate up to 144 per disciplines into age group cohorts, next slide the next approach is one that we spoke about a week or so ago and it was mainly developed a
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variance specific vaccine, instead of boosting up against the wild type which gives you the cushion effect against variance that i mentioned just a few slides ago, the approach that has been taken by some companies in the state enter case odierno to begin clinical trials of a booster shot against a specific variant in question and in this case the 351 from south africa. next line. in fact they mentioned previously this is a planned study that will begin in the middle of this month and it will be a study that is done in collaboration with our group at niaid in which we will look at night even previously vaccinated adults. finally the last is one that we look to in the future mainly universal coronavirus vaccine one that will handle variance of
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sars/cov e2 and that will hopefully be able to address other pin debit coronavirus in the future. i'll stop there and handed back to andy. >> thank you, doctor fountain doctor walensky, let's take questions. >> are right we have a time for a few questions and please keep your question to one question my first go to the hill can you hear me? >> thank you so much for doing this i'm wondering if you could tell me how you came to the conclusion that there will be enough vaccine supply to the end of may to vaccinate all american adults and why it was important for the president to layout the timeline yesterday and if there are any and if you're worried about setting expectations too high on that. >> thinking morgan we begin i don't think it's any secret we arrived pfizer mentor no were
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scheduled to deliver to the end of september and johnson & johnson was well behind in the president as he's guided has committed to getting into the country vaccinated as quickly as possible, we got extreme levels of cooperation from private sector partners and everybody to say let's follow the president's pledge, move forward and try to make sure we can get everybody vaccinated as quickly as possible we are not in the habit of overpromising and therefore even as of several weeks ago before such time as the approval of johnson & johnson the president was talking about moving up the date until the end of july, all the while we've been hard at work to try to take every idea that we can small or large with science leadership,
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doctor kessler's leadership in the active participation of johnson & johnson and pfizer -- i'm sorry johnson & johnson and merck this is a story where there's no bad guys, only good actors here everybody got together and found ways to bring forward the timeline so we can get americans fully vaccinated into a very different place in a very different part of the pandemic and i think the president has always said he will laid out straight for the public, good news and bad news when we have challenges we talk about them and when we have advances we talk about them, that is how that came together. >> next will go to brenda goodman with web md. >> in morning i have a question about texas yesterday governor greg abbott said he was going to lift the mask mandate and open the estate up 100% and we know
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the all the variance have been found and according to research of a large sequencing effort i am wondering do you agree with the governor's assessment it's time to open the estate up 100%. >> let me begin with doctor walensky to talk about the cdc perspective in the house of commons. >> taken for the question i think we have the cdc have been very clear now is not the time to release instructions and in the next month or two in terms of how the pandemic goes in as we scale up vaccination we need to increase the amount of the virus that is circulating as we try to vaccinate. i will often note that every individual has the power to do the right thing regardless of what the states decide for personal health, public health in their communities i was still
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encourage individuals to wear a mask, socially distance to protect their own health. >> let me follow that up the president has committed to a few things one to follow the recommendation of the sciences scientist and wherever that goes the president is 100% behind doctor walensky in the cdc recommendation, i don't think you could possibly be any clear about the importance and the need for a mask as a leader is probably he talks about most frequently a model that behavior he made the order on every possible area where we had federal control and the facilities, transportation and of course last week we announced we will be distributing masks to community health centers, food banks, we think it's critically important, critically important that particular over the next period of time this is not forever but the next period of time where the president has called for this we know it could
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save tens of thousands of lives if people do this and we strongly encourage people to continue to wear masks in mayors, governors and others recognizing that they have difficult decisions to make to keep the course. next question. >> next question at the wall street journal. >> thank you as always for doing the briefing i wanted to ask if you have a sense of when merck will be able to ramp up production in terms of helping with the j&j vaccine for the company to convert its facilities and do we know how many doses merck will be able to help been a fracture? >> thank you sabrina i think the answer is may there are two elements the substance itself and the fill is a complex answer but over time we believe that
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merck will be able to double the capacity that we've seen from johnson & johnson next question. will go to kristen and bc. >> hi everyone thank you so much for doing this call, we really appreciate it, i wanted to follow-up on the question about texas is not just texas that is easing restrictions is also other states like mississippi, arkansas north carolina, virginia and is there anything that the federal government can do and anything that your team is looking to do to try to encourage if not mandate that the states reverse course and also in terms of the may benchmark as it relates to distributed the vaccine what are the potential headwinds that could derail the timeline in other words what are you concerned about the most when
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you look to that end of may goal. >> thank you kristen i think we have the same answer with regard to our view on masks and what the president is saying and doing on masks so i think were using the absolute full extent of all the areas where we have federal control and actively being very, very clear on what we think needs to happen so we hope other elected officials the have the authority will in fact listen we were realistic enough to recognize that everybody's not quit up attention to what we say but we think it's very important in terms of johnson & johnson and merck i'm probably going to differ that question to the company, i think we have a good plan i will tell you we always worry about everything as part of our ethic around here is
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execution, mentality means that we are constantly worried so anything that is yet to happen in the future i can assure you world experts for manufacturing from the department of defense and from the companies all very focused on this. i don't know if i focus on one specific thing. next question. >> we will go -- >> thank you so much can you hear me questioning. >> thank you for this opportunity my question is to dr. fauci during the worst time of the pandemic and scientists around the world the break in brazil is a global track that could release here in modern parts of the world dr. fauci do you agree and also do believe brazil could do anything different to response to this
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crisis especially when it comes to vaccination, you are working with authorities from brazil? >> they stand for the question is a difficult situation that brazil find themselves in because it is really difficult in the sense that even with infection from the original virus that was circulating in recovery from the virus does not fact protect you against rhe infections of the circulating variance in brazil the best thing one can do is to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible in many people as possible you have to get your scientist in your public officials to take a close look at the match between the antibodies that are induced by the vaccine that you are using and what its efficacy against the p1, p2 variance that is dominant in brazil, that is something that i would imagine
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and i'd be happy to discuss this with your officials if you would like to talk about what kind of options you might have the issue with impact of what goes on in brazil and the rest of the world obviously when you have a variant that in a particular country and we already have the brazil variant and the limited extent in our own country that is the reason why as i mentioned literally a few minutes ago and are vaccination program we aim to get the highest vaccination that would be able to give a cushion of protection even against the variant. . . .
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los angeles times. >> will hi, everybody. one more question on those reducing their own restrictions. specifically are you in conversations with them not to do this, are they disagreeing on the conversations with you? i know there's only so much the federal government can do but what is happening behind the scenes to urge them to not do this? >> we are in constant conversations with the states
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there are plenty of health officials as you know in every state who feel it's the wrong time to lift the mask mandate. i know it seems counterintuitive to folks to hear good news in the coming vaccine and acceleration of vaccines. we know the people are tired and eager for this to be over but even though it is counterintuitive, the most important time for people to make sure we run through and finish that up i think is a commonly shared sentiment not just from us but public health experts everywhere. so, hopefully the country will continue to rally together in this front. i want to thank everybody for joining the call today and appreciate all the questions. talk to you friday.
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>> general john raymond talks about the agency's accomplishments in its first year as a military branch in future missions. topics include foreign threats from space, partnerships with the commercial industry and at the goal of preventing military conflict in space. this is an hour. >> good morning and welcome to the national press club, the place where news happens. i'm vice president of the national press club and reporter. thank you for joining us today for the virtual headliners newsmaker with general john raymond, the chief of operations united states


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