The chief medical advisor to the US President, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he believed it would be safe for Irish people to visit the United States when travel between the two countries resumed in November.
In an interview with this week’s RTÉ program, Dr. Fauci said that although America currently has a very high infection rate, authorities are “starting to see a shift in case numbers.”
“I think the combination of the fact that it will be in November, and there will be vaccination and testing requirements, that it will be safe for people in Ireland to travel to the United States.
“I think our Irish friends and colleagues who come from Ireland to the United States with vaccination and testing can make a safe visit,” he said.
Asked if unvaccinated young children should travel, he said: “Everything should be put in the context of your ability to take limited risks.
“Everything is relative. Planes are relatively safe, given the filtration on board. If you have children who come from Ireland, we recommend wearing masks in congregate places.”
Dr Fauci also encouraged the Irish government to reward health workers, who he said had performed heroically during the pandemic.
“I firmly believe that health workers on the front lines are truly the heroes and heroines of this outbreak in Ireland, the United States and around the world. Everything a country can do is to realize that the tournament will be just right.”
The 80-year-old doctor and scientist who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, as well as the chief medical advisor to US President Joe Biden, spoke about the high death rates in the United States.
It was announced last week that the number of Covid-related deaths in the United States has exceeded 675,000 people who died during the 1918 flu pandemic.
The ability to lower the infection rate lies with the American authorities and the people, Dr. Fauci said. There are currently 70 million people eligible for vaccination who have not yet been vaccinated, he said.
“We are doing everything we can to get trusted messengers to convince people to get vaccinated.
“We can significantly reduce the infection rate if we get the majority of the population to accept vaccines,” said Dr. Fauci.
He said that disinformation being spread on social media was a serious problem, and that “anti-vaccinationists” were obstructing a coherent effort to vaccinate people.
“This is spread by spreading misinformation through social media. We have a real problem with the spread of misinformation and misinformation.
“Your desire to be successful is completely disruptive to public health efforts,” he added.
On the topic of vaccinating young children aged 5-11, Dr. Fauci said he was confident of Pfizer’s claims that its mRNA vaccine is safe for younger children.
He said his experience with Pfizer showed that their claims were based on reliable scientific data.
“I have every reason to believe that the statements they make will be backed up by solid data.”
He said he hopes that by the end of October, US regulatory authorities will be in a position to recommend Pfizer’s vaccine for younger children.
Asked whether everyone with a Covid-19 vaccine would need a booster dose in the future, Dr Fauci said this was possible, but would depend on the data.
“The data is evolving in real time. Israel is seeing a dwindling and a dwindling of the standard dose of mRNA and they are seeing a rise in cases in young people.
“If we see that in the United States, it is quite conceivable that reinforcements will be required for a larger group of people, including young people, and may include the entire population,” he said.
After insisting on whether rich countries are morally responsible for giving booster doses to their populations when poor countries struggle to vaccinate their populations, Fauci said both could be done.
“I think we have an obligation to ensure that the rest of the world, especially low- and middle-income countries, is vaccinated, and that the richer parts of the world have to play a major role in that.”
“We have committed to allocating 1.1 billion doses to the rest of the world,” Dr. Fauci added.
As long as this commitment is maintained, he said, it is moral for the United States to provide reinforcements to its own people.
An interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci can be heard this week on RTÉ 1, 1pm.
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