Oct 3, 2021 - Health

Fauci: "False narrative" to think COVID vaccine obsolete if Merck drug approved

Fauci
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Sunday it is a "false narrative" to think that the coronavirus vaccines would become unnecessary if an antiviral drug announced by Merck receives federal approval.

Why it matters: Fauci's remarks on ABC's "This Week," come on the heels of the pharmaceutical company's announcement on Friday that an oral antiviral treatment it is developing might reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID.

  • Fauci reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated, saying, "I mean this idea about 'we have a drug, don't get vaccinated,' just doesn't make any sense."
  • The U.S. surpassed 700,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Friday, with about 70 million eligible Americans still unvaccinated, Axios' Shawna Chen reports,

What they're saying: "If you look at the people who get hospitalized and the people who die, it is overwhelmingly weighted toward the people who are unvaccinated," Fauci told host Jonathan Karl.

  • "When you say, 'Are some of those deaths avoidable?' They certainly are. In fact, looking forward now, most of the deaths could be avoidable if we get people vaccinated," he added.
Go deeper