August 2, 2021 US coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:00 PM ET, Mon August 2, 2021
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8:26 a.m. ET, August 2, 2021

The best way to protect children is to get more eligible people vaccinated, NIH director says 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said the best way to protect children against Covid-19 is for more people who are eligible to get vaccinated. 

“Well, it is very true that Delta seems capable of not just giving severe illness to older people, but also to adolescents and even children,” Collins told ABC’s Good Morning America Monday when asked about children getting more seriously ill. “Another reason, I think, why we really have to push forward as much as we can with getting vaccination rates up.” 

He said that he was encouraged by increases in vaccinations over the last two weeks, especially in places such as Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, which are being hit hard by Delta. 

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 432,399 people are initiating vaccination each day, a 24% increase over last week when there were just about 100,000 new vaccinations each day.

“We need to push that,” he said. “If you’re really worried about the kids, well let’s get the people who can be vaccinated at a higher rate, we’ve got a long way to go in some of those communities to get to the point where people are protected.” 
8:20 a.m. ET, August 2, 2021

There currently isn’t evidence that the US needs to proceed with Covid-19 booster shots, NIH director says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said there is currently no evidence that the United States needs to go ahead with booster shots, although this is something that is being looked at almost daily. 

“Well, we’re certainly looking at it almost daily,” Collins said on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday when asked if the need for booster shots are inevitable in the US. “As you heard, FDA oversees this and the data is gathering both from the US and from what we’ve learned from places like Israel and the UK.” 

“I would say right now, there is not evidence that we need to go ahead with boosters in the United States, but that’s an ongoing debate,” he said. “Let me just be clear, though, that actually the existing approved vaccines in the US, Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, do have high effectiveness against Delta. There is no reason to rush forward at this present time for a booster decision, but we’re going to watch that day by day.” 

Asked what the harm was in moving forward, Collins said that they just want to do the thing that’s going to be most helpful for people and also recognize that there’s a worldwide shortage of vaccines and countries still desperate to get access.

“If the United States, with its large population, decides we need a whole other bunch of vaccines for our country, that means those are not going to be able to go somewhere else,” he said. “We will do that if that’s what’s necessary to protect Americans. At the present time though, the data doesn’t convince us that it’s time to go forward.”