tv White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing CSPAN June 23, 2022 11:40pm-12:15am EDT
he also repeated warnings that the u.s. would not have enough money for vaccines in the fall and winter without additional congressional funding. joined by the institute of allergy and infectious disease director doctor fauci and the cdc director wilensky. >> good afternoon, everybody. i'm the covid-19 response coordinator for the white house. first of all, apologies for the technical delays getting us started. but i am excited and delighted to get going this afternoon. with two familiar faces and two colleagues who've been tirelessly battling the pandemic since the beginning of the
pandemic more than two years ago you know them both well, doctor wilensky and doctor fauci. today we want to end update you on an important topic. one that america has waited on for a long time. the first covid-19 vaccine for the youngest kids. it's been nearly 18 months since the first set of vaccines became available for adults and just over the last week we saw the fda authorize and the cdc recommend vaccines for children six months and above for the first time. this is an important moment for families with kids under five but it's a historic moment for the nation because essentially every american from the oldest to the youngest is now eligible for the protection the vaccines provide. now we know that these are extraordinarily safe and highly effective. remember after an extensive review by fda and cdc
scientists, they were approved by an independent group of scientists. it's hard to get a group of scientists to agree on anything and yet 21 independent scientists that served unanimously voted in agreement that the benefits of the vaccines clearly outweighed the risks and then 12 independent scientists that make up the a cip agreed recommending the vaccines for kids six months and above. now, we have been at hhs and the administration planning and preparing for this moment for a long time. when the president took office, he made a commitment to keep all family is safe for covid-19 across america. the availability of these vaccines brings us that much closer to that goal. to make sure these vaccines get to the families that want to them, we've launched a comprehensive effort with trusted partners. these partners include states, local health departments,
pediatricians, family physicians, rural and community health centers and pharmacies. in fact, the largest federal pharmacy partners, walgreens, cvs and walmart are stepping up and already vaccinating children. as are many pediatricians across the country. now, as i've said to all of you on many occasions, we know this vaccination program will ramp up over time. remember, vaccines could not be shipped until they were authorized by the fda on friday. as of today, i can report that more than 4 million doses have been delivered within days of authorization to approximately 13,000 sites across the country. and as more doses are received and more sites that make the doses available, that information will also become available on vaccines .gov. now, when you look at this vaccination program for the littlest americans, it will feel a little different than the
vaccination programs we've grown before. and that's because we know parents will be turning to their pediatricians and their family physicians. we've been guided in our approach by very clear data that is says that most parents want to vaccinate the littlest ones in familiar settings. we also know many parents of questions. and we want to encourage every parent to talk to their physician, to talk to the pediatrician, to talk to the family physician. we also know that confidence in vaccines builds over time. and i remind people that at the start of the adult vaccination program back in december of 2020, only one in three adults said they were eager to get the shot. today, nearly 90% of adults have gotten at least one shot. we know the importance of working with trusted voices and community leaders and we are doing just that. hhs has partnered with over a thousand organizations, many of
which were again minority and rural communities and organizations like the national parent-teacher association, the institute of the national medical association. both of them have been great partners. we also started the community that has grown to include 17,000 members across healthcare, sports, rural and faith organizations. organizations like black doctors for the covid-19 consortium and the national get health board. i want to address one issue that's very important and that is the issue of misinformation about vaccines and kids and covid in this pandemic. so, what to set the record straight because the data here is actually quite clear. kids are better protected if they are vaccinated. if they are vaccinated, they are far less likely to get seriously ill. far less likely to end up in the hospital, to end up in the icu. tens of millions of children in the u.s. and around the world
have already been vaccinated against covid and the safety profile of these vaccines is extraordinary. i have three children all of whom who've been vaccinated. in fact every physician i know including particularly pediatricians have all vaccinated for eligible children. we've come a long way in our fight with vaccines and treatments and other tools like testings that have become widely available. and i'm pleased to make another announcement today. the biden harris administration is making more accessible tests available for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. the tests are available for free to covid a test to .gov. we've developed this in close partnership with members of the disability community. an issue that is raised consistently with individuals who are blind or low vision are often unable to utilize rapid self tests on their own. the president has made clear he
is committed to addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities regardless of where they live or the level of transmission ensuring everyone has equitable access and all other critical mitigation strategies is of the utmost importance. so in closing, the members in the fight speak for themselves. nearly three months after cases began to rise in the u.s., the deaths are actually down 90% since the day the president took office. why? this hasn't happened randomly. it's down because two out of three americans are vaccinated and nearly half of them are boosted because we have widespread availability. so we've made a lot of progress but our job is not done. the pandemic is not over. while we still have a lot of work to do it is worth celebrating milestones and this
week is the littlest members of the society begin to get vaccinated we need to take a moment to reflect on the good use. with that i'm going to turn over to doctor wallen ski that will update us on the pandemic and getting vaccinated. >> good evening everyone. i would like to start by walking through the latest data. the current average of cases has been about 99,400 and that represents a decrease of about 4% over the prior week. the seven day average of household is about 400 per day which is an increase of about 2% over the prior week. and as noted the average is about 250 per day, which is a decrease of about 16% in the prior week. that allows individuals and communities to take action to protect themselves and others based on their local community level. this also allows us to focus our
efforts on protecting those that are most at risk of severe covid-19 illness. last week the cdc reported a 21% of the u.s. population was living in a high covid-19 community and nearly 40% was living in a medium community level. and 39% was in a low community level. we all have updated covid-19 community levels posted tonight and we do anticipate things shifting across the country. so, please go to cdc .gov where you can find your covid-19 level online and we've taken another important step forward in the fight against covid-19 following regular scientific review and a transparent and comprehensive discussion on their immune response, safety and ability of the vaccines to protect children against disease. the cdc expanded its covid-19 vaccine recommendations to all
children six months through five years of age. this makes nearly 20 million additional children eligible for vaccines. i know there's been a great deal of anticipation for parents surrounding the authorization and recommendation of covid-19 vaccines for the youngest children and for many of the opportunity to vaccinate their children comes as a welcomed relief. for those that may still be hesitant i want to emphasize that covid-19 vaccines have and continue to undergo the most intense safety monitoring in our history. parents, it is of course okay if you have questions and if you do, i encourage you to talk to your child and local pharmacists to learn more about the benefits and of course the safety of these vaccines. in the meantime, i would like to outline my covid-19 vaccinations for our children are particularly important. we do know that covid-19 illness can be serious for children and that as parents we are always looking to do what's right to protect them against harm.
while we want to be of years of your outcomes, it is especially concerning to see severe outcomes in the youngest children. hospitalizations and deaths. children should not need hospitalization or go to the icu to be on a ventilator and they certainly shouldn't lose their life to the virus at a young age. during the omicron wave we saw a spike in cases in children and the highest hospitalization rate in children than any other point in this pandemic. especially among the youngest. ages six months through four years and the highest rate of hospitalizations among any age group under the age of 17. since january, 2020, we've lost 215 children age six months to four years. to put that in perspective, during march or april 2022, covid-19 was among the top five leading causes of death in every
age group of children under the age of 19 and the number one infectious cause of death in children. no parent should have to face the stress of having a child that may be severely ill. protection could be the difference between a hospitalization, hospital visit or even saving a child's life. and that is unequivocally great news for parents. we all want to do what is best for our children and for the vaccine and protection against covid-19 they do. young children do not need to have an underlining condition to be at risk of severe disease and over half of children hospitalized were otherwise healthy and had no underlining medical conditions. and children who previously had covid-19 can also still benefit from a covid-19 vaccine. evidence has shown vaccine immunity results in a broader
neutralizing antibody response that has broad protection against variance compared with infection alone. so, as a parent, as a physician and as your cdc director, i strongly encourage all parents to get their child vaccinated. covid-19 is not over, but we are at a better place and we are now armed with vaccines for the very youngest. and we have the toolbox to fix the virus had on. thank you and i will now turn things over to doctor fauci. >> thank you very much. what i would like to do over the next minute or two is to just underscore and answer preemptively some of the questions doctor walensky and i have received over the last few days since the announcement was made. let's take a very quick review of the questions that people ask. for example, parents ask how did they come to this conclusion, what was the data that led to the recommendation of these
drugs? as you know, we have two in question, moderna and pfizer that have gone under extensive placebo-controlled trials which is the gold standard of the current efficacy and safety. if we go first through the trail that involved a 6400 children and infants, the important point to emphasize is that this vaccine with just two doses and four weeks apart, importantly the immune response listed by the vaccines were comparable to those responses in younger adults receiving the higher dose van unequivocally in the trial that led to a clinical benefit. so, even though this is mostly an immunological study, the fact remains that it is highly correlated with a good clinical effect. what about the safety?
when there's new vaccines, one of the things you address is the reaction, the local systemic effect. in summary, and very briefly, the reaction of this vaccine was essentially the same, no better or worse than we've seen with any number of childhood vaccines that we regularly administer to our children. there was no incidents -- very quickly moving on to pfizer which is a bit different in three doses, first dose separated by three weeks, second dose by eight weeks. again, the bridging immunological situation indicated that the responses that were listed by the vaccine was equivalent to the responses in other studies, including
young adults that were clearly associated with a beneficial clinical response. with regards to the safety data, the same thing. for example, fevers came into sight and were quite comparable to what we've seen in vaccines that all of us have been administering to our children over years and years. the bottom line of all of this is that the fda evaluation and analysis for the safety, effectiveness and manufacturing data are very rigorously supportive. the known potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks in the pediatric population. and we want to make sure you understand, parents, that prior to making the decision to authorize and recommend these vaccines, the fda and cdc independent advisory committees as you heard were consulted and
voted unanimously in support of the authorization and recommendations, therefore we are all very enthusiastic about getting older and vaccinated with the now available products. back to you. >> okay. thank you, doctor fauci and walensky. >> thank you, doctor. we have to keep one question per person, so please do that so we can get through as many. cheryl, "new york times." >> thanks for doing this call. i'm going to immediately violate your admonition and ask a few questions. first is about the kids vaccines. i noticed on the vaccines .gov, a lot of the pharmacies say they vaccinate ages three and up, and i wondered why that is and if there's a problem with getting vaccines to the youngest?
and then for doctor fauci, i think a lot of americans are just wondering how you're feeling at what you have experienced with covid and how you got infected and i wonder if you can share a little bit of that. >> why don't we start there. tony, give us an update on how you're feeling. >> thank you for asking. i'm feeling fine. i had some mild symptoms last tuesday. i checked my antigen test was positive and i started symptoms wednesday and was on paxlovid for five days and i'm feeling quite fine. i think i'm an example, given my age, of what we are all talking about today. i'm vaccinated, i'm doubly boosted, and i believe that if that were not the case, i very likely wouldn't be talking to you looking as well as i do
right now. so all is well and thank you for asking. >> thank goodness for vaccines and paxlovid. on the issue of kids under three, this is about -- i don't know if you know more about the details behind this to comment about why it is that some places will vaccinate kids under three and other places won't. >> i would say much of this may be related to the act but also the availability to handle younger kids and also the willingness of parents to potentially want to take their younger kids to where they routinely get vaccinated whether it is a local community health center or a pediatrician. >> next question. >> thanks for taking my question. president biden was recently asked if there is enough supply
of vaccines for these children. and he said we will get through at least this year with the current level of funding. i'm hoping you can verify whether that is the case and also expand is there enough funding for every american who needs vaccine is one of them are available to get that. >> so, he was asked, i think i was there when he was asked the question largely asked about the current campaign for kids and so let me be clear on that we have more than enough moderna and pfizer for everyone who wants one for the pediatric campaign. as you know, we've been very open and we have moved money from other critical programs at hhs to the effort to buy some vaccines. we do not believe we have actually without getting to the details of the contracting, which hasn't happened yet, we
will not have enough vaccines for every american who wants one this fall and winter. but that is of course the one we are talking about. we should have enough for potentially high risk individuals, but one of the reasons we've been asking for additional funding is we need funding to make sure that every american that wants the vaccine should one be authorized by the fda has the ability to do that. >> revisiting the warning that you had made last month that the u.s. could potentially see 100 million new covid infections of congress doesn't approve more funding. given that was based on preliminary and early data and experts, i'm wondering whether now more than a month later you have an update or revision on the forecast, or does the 100 million new infections bill falls somewhere in the
projection that you have been studying? >> and as i said about a month ago, we are constantly looking at a whole range of data both internal models developed by the government scientists as well as external models and we are planning for a range of scenarios and that is one of the ranges that we have is that we could see a substantial wave of infections. we are inspecting new models in the coming weeks and again it is always hard to make longer-term projections as we get closer to the date and get more modeling data coming out. and my feeling is that we are going to update people with kind of what we are seeing in the modeling data but also what kind of different scenarios we are planning for. at the end of the day, i've said this before, we try not to be in the prediction business, we try to be in the planning business. and we have to plan for a range of scenarios. obviously always hoping that we get a very mild winter and that we have very few infections. but hoping is not a strategy.
we are planning for a range of different scenarios. >> so this is the 100 million is still in the middle of the range of the projections that you've been seeing since that was a warning that you had made last month. >> it was a couple of months ago and i said it was one of the many things we were seeing and we hadn't gotten any updated numbers that i could report back on today. >> , howell at the "washington post." >> thanks for doing this. quick do you know how many of these have been administered this week and can you talk about how or why the u.s. became the first country in the world to offer these vaccines at three to four years? it seems some have beat us to the punch and i wonder why that wasn't the case this time. >> with me start on the first and second question when we will have the vaccines and we will turn over to doctor walensky since they track that very closely. we had been among the first on
getting vaccines authorized for almost every age group and certainly on the mrna we were the first to do that for adults. and then we've moved very quickly on getting authorizations for kids 12 to 17 and five to 11. and now zero to four. i think it is a combination of vigorous scientific work that's been done by the companies. and in close partnership with the fda who's been transparent and open up the standards required to get the authorizations, so it's a lot of very proactive work on the vaccines. it's actually made america pretty consistently a leader on the mrna vaccine in terms of authorizing it for the different populations. on the issue of how many kids have gotten vaccinated, administered doses, i'm going to turn over to ruechel. when will we see the data coming in on that? >> we plan to be very transparent in terms of the administration numbers. we have been for all of the
children and adults. right now we are doing the work of delivering and working with the immunization partners and jurisdictions to receive the data when we have those in the more complete fashion we will be able to report those publicly. >> next question. >> let's go with cnbc. >> thank you. just one quick one. the clinical guidelines from the cdc state the doses can be safe for the primary series for the littlest kids from four or three, depending if it is pfizer or moderna. wondering how you would advise parents to space those doses and it talks of the individual protection of the disease from the vaccines. what would some of the social effects be of having this available and it will mean
things like you don't have to quarantine? what will be the effect on parents and families? >> why don't i let you handle both of those. >> part of the reason for the rangers to recognize that it may be hard to keep up with summertime and the kids at camp it might be hard to be strict on the three or four weeks but i will say that if you are at that risk of severe outcomes and if you are immunocompromised, you want to be able to be fully protected as soon as possible, so i would air on the earlier side of that administration course. with regards to the guidance for families and for updated guidance, we are actively always continuously looking at the guidance. i would say the most important thing to do is to get your child vaccinated, get your family vaccinated and that will deliver the most production to you and your family and [inaudible]
>> let's go to cheyenne at abc news. >> thank you for doing this. to follow up on the issue of the covid funding, can you say how many vaccines you've been able to purchase with the money that you've diverted or when you might be able to if it is still in negotiations? and what is the plan if it is going to cover all americans? the funding seems off the table to get people vaccines even if they are not free from the government. >> good questions. we can't talk about numbers because the negotiations have just gotten started so there are no numbers to report. to be clear we are talking about the vaccines that would be purchased for this fall and winter. those haven't even been authorized by the fda. we think the fda is going to authorize them but we are not sure. we will hear more from the fda next week. then the negotiators will be conducted on behalf of the u.s. government and entered into
negotiations with moderna advisory and the resources we've been able to pull together for the vaccines for the fall. it's very clear we are not going to have enough vaccines for every adult that once one, but then we continue to have conversations, and we will continue to have conversations with both republicans and democrats on the hill. i am an eternal optimist. i remain convinced that congress is not going to walk away. at this point in the pandemic when we've made so much progress, and as we are looking into the fall and winter with a new generation of vaccines, i don't believe congress will walk away and say we are not going to make sure that every american who wants a vaccine is going to be able to get one. there isn't a commercialization plan that somehow would be ready in time for this fall and winter. so, we have to make sure that we have the resources we need so that people who want to vaccine this fall and winter, again from
this new generation that we will hear more in the wind next week or so, we have to make sure that is available to every american. >> next question. >> to follow up on the last question. is there any country in front of the u.s. for contracting [inaudible] you said you needed that money now to start the contracting process. and to prevent other countries [inaudible] on the last point, you said there's no commercialization plans in place for the fall, so if the u.s. doesn't have money to create a vaccines for the populations that are not high-risk, other adults, they won't even be able to buy those vaccines out of their own pocket? >> so, first of all, on the issue of countries, i can talk about what's public. germany has signed contracts for
the next generations of vaccines. i believe both moderna and pfizer, i'm not sure, but they certainly have what we know many european countries are far a long and the contract negotiations with the company's. we've not entered into those negotiations. we are about to because we've pulled these resources together. so, this is a problem. and we want to make sure that when these vaccines get authorized by the fda and get produced, that americans are able to get them in time before we see any kind of a fall or winter surge. so, one of the reasons we pull three sources from other critical programs as we felt like we couldn't wait any longer. and if we waited much longer we wouldn't be able to get the vaccines for the high-risk individuals in time to protect them. certainly if we got in early surge of infections, we would really not have the vaccines we
needed. in terms of what to do for people that are not high-risk that we may not be able to purchase vaccines, there's a huge challenge. as i said, there is not an obvious way to get these things commercialized. if you think about it from the perspective of these companies, they are negotiating with countries around the world. they have certain limitations to their production capacity. and if there's not an easy way to make sure the commercial purchasers somehow can get in and beat out other countries to have the product available, so we are looking at all of the contingencies. we don't get to walk away. it's one thing for congress to say we are not going to support this. the administration doesn't get to do this. we will figure out solutions, but it would be a lot easier to make sure that every american that once a vaccine can get one and be protected if we can get the funding from congress.
>> thank you, everybody for joining us. and to my colleagues walensky and fauci, great to see you fully recovered and doing better. thank you all of us for joining us this afternoon. we will be back again to give you more updates, but appreciate you taking the time and your patience in the beginning when we had some technical issues. have a great day. thank you. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more including mediacom. >> the world changed in an instant, but mediacom was ready. internet traffic sorted we never slowed down. schools and businesses went virtual and we powered. because at mediacom, we are built to keep you ahead. >> mediacom supporting c-span as a public service. along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy.
the house meets friday to consider gun violence legislation that passed with bipartisan support in the senate on thursday. the bill offers state grants for red flag walls and crisis prevention programs. and also enhances background checks for people under the age of 21. you can follow the housewives starting at 9 a.m. eastern on c-span, or watch on the free c-span now video app. former white house coronavirus response team repeating the claim that up to 130,000 deaths were preventable. from the coronavirus subcommittee this is about one hour and 40 minutes.
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