Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Shepard Smith and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director & White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, on “The News with Shepard Smith” (M-F, 7PM-8PM ET) today, Monday, November 15th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com:
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We Could Be At The Beginning Of A Covid Wave, Says Dr. Fauci
SHEPARD SMITH: Dr. Fauci, it’s good to have you. Thank you. He’s the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President. Doctor, again Thanksgiving week, you said today if everybody's vaccinated, celebrating together is all good. Of course, it's not that cut and dry. You know, many kids five to 11 just getting their first doses, and then the little ones with nothing. What's your advice, advice to families with kids in those positions?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, the best way you can protect children who have not yet gotten vaccinated who are still too young even below the five-year cutoff, we now have authorization and recommendation to vaccinate children five to 11 with the Pfizer vaccine, the best way to protect children is to surround them with adults who are vaccinated so that you can feel comfortable and safe in the home with your children and with the rest of your family. And that's again, another reason why it's so important to get vaccinated not only to protect yourself, but to protect your family and importantly, which we sometimes forget, is your societal responsibility to keep the level of infection in the community down so that you yourself are not just in a vacuum, but you're part of the community effort to not let that surge, which you showed on that chart Shepard a moment ago. You know, it's plateaued at around 70,000 to 75,000 and now it's creeping up into the 80,000 per day. That's something that's entirely predictable when you have these many people, about 16 million people, who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not gotten vaccinated. And in addition, as important in some respects, I mean it's still always the primary thing, is to get the unvaccinated vaccinated. But for those who are eligible to be boosted, by all means go and get boosted because we know from the Israeli data that dramatically diminishes the likelihood not only of infection, but also of getting a severe outcome in people who are fully vaccinated.
SMITH: You know, Dr. Fauci yesterday, the former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb criticized messaging around the boosters as confusing. Here listen.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I think the confusing message around the boosters may, may end up being one of the biggest missed opportunities in this pandemic. We've now see very clear evidence of declining vaccine effectiveness over time. There's different reasons why that may be the case but the trend is unmistakable and this has been apparent since the end of the summer. Now it's very clear.
SMITH: Do you can concur, and do you see a level of confusion that shouldn't exist two years into the pandemic?
DR. FAUCI: Right. Well in some respects and in many respects, I agree with some of the things that Dr. Gottlieb says. Let me explain. Right now, you have the recommendation and the authorization to give boosts, namely the third shot to people who have an mRNA vaccine and the second shot for those with J&J, but it's for people 65 years of age or older, those with underlying conditions and those who work in or live in an area with a high risk. What Dr. Gottlieb is saying is that people when they see that, they get confused as do I or do I not, do I not fall into that group. For the elderly, it's easy. You know you fall into that group and those are the ones we clearly want to get, get the booster right away. But what he's referring to when I quite agree with him, that as long as you get a safety signal that you don't have any red flags of safety, I have always been right from the beginning always yielding to safety to make sure, been one who feels that you should get no ambiguity, get the confusion out of the way, anybody 18 or older should get the booster shot. Now, to their credit, the FDA is looking at that even as you and I are speaking Shepard to see if we can get that data together to be able to say now, everybody get vaccinated so there's no confusion. If someone says, should I get a booster? It isn't do I fall into this category or that category? It's as long as I was vaccinated in the first place, I should go get a booster. That's the clarity that we need.
SMITH: Doctor. We've been watching Europe throughout the pandemic and it seems like as Europe goes, we kind of go next. And now I'm looking at certain spots around the country that our data team has identified as having real surges even without problems in hospitals again, are we, are we at the beginning of a wave?
DR. FAUCI: You know, we could be Shepard and that's the point that is so frustrating. We need to take all of this ideological political nonsense out of the picture and realizing that the writing's on the wall. Take a look at what's going on in Europe. They have pushed back, they get away from the mitigation pulling back on masking, having people go into places that are congregate settings indoor, this is what you happen when you get to a winter season when the weather gets cold, and people go indoor. It's not rocket science. It's highly predictable and that's the reason why we got to get people vaccinated who are not vaccinated, boost the people who are already vaccinated and when you're in an indoor congregate setting as much as nobody likes to wear a mask including me when you are in an indoor congregate setting, and you don't know what the status of the vaccination of people are, wear a mask. That's not encroaching on anybody's individuality. That's just being safe and protecting yourself and your community.
SMITH: I just wonder if in these areas where vaccination levels are low and the Delta variant spread has not yet occurred, if hospitals there aren't about to be in trouble and if we as a nation are prepared to help them out and bail them out if necessary.
DR. FAUCI: Well, the easiest way to help them out is to continue to suppress the level of infection in the community. Obviously, you're going to need the mechanical issues, the beds, the personnel, the dedicated physicians, nurses and healthcare providers. We want to make sure they don't get overwhelmed because they've been through, they're really heroes and heroines, they've been through a very harrowing year and a half, 20 months or so. We don't want to see that happen again.
SMITH: Yeah. You've said it, before we go, you've said masks aren't forever but now's not the time. Can you look ahead and say, well, maybe it's then like, maybe it's spring, maybe it's summer or is there no way to know?
DR. FAUCI: Shepard, you have to be honest, there's no way to know that. It's up to us. If we want to make it sooner rather than later then let's get vaccinated. Let's get boosted. Let's wear masks now. They won't be forever. The sooner we get the level way down then we can look at masks in the rearview mirror and not think we're going to have to wear them all the time.
SMITH: Dr. Fauci, thank you so much. It's nice to see you again.