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NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Sunday that while the coronavirus vaccine booster rollout is important, the "highest priority" is to vaccinate the unvaccinated.

Why it matters: Fauci's statements on NBC's "Meet the Press" come days after an FDA advisory panel voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, pouring cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals.

  • The NIAID director also indicated in the interview that data on the third dose of Moderna and a second dose of J&J is “a couple to a few weeks away.”

What they're saying: "Our highest priority still is getting the unvaccinated vaccinated, and there should be no confusion about that," Fauci told host Chuck Todd. "The highest priority is not to get boosters — we think it's important to get boosters to people — but the overwhelming highest priority is to vaccinate the unvaccinated."

  • “The next three months is up to us … if we get that overwhelming majority of the people vaccinated as we enter into the fall and winter, we can have good control over this and not have a really bad winter at all," he added.

NIH Director Francis Collins said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that boosters would likely be approved for everyone eventually but acknowledged people were "confused about different messages."

  • "We have to see how this plays out over the coming weeks, because the data changes every day," Collins said.
  • "I do think it was very significant that the FDA Advisory Committee voted unanimously in favor of offering boosters to people 65 and over and to others who have high-risk exposures like health care professionals," he added.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Oct 23, 2021 - Health

Benefits of COVID vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says

A nurse gives a girl a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Lyman High School in Longwood on the day before classes begin for the 2021-22 school year. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Food and Drug Administration regulators said Friday that the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children far outweigh the risks for children ages 5 to 11.

Why it matters: The announcement could add momentum to the FDA's authorization of doses for children on an emergency basis, which could happen as early as next week, according to the New York Times.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.