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Dr. Fauci says Omicron-specific vaccine may not be needed

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo taken on December 01, 2021 shows Chief Medical Advisor to the president Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (File photo by AFP)

The top US infectious disease official has said that manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant of the coronavirus would be a "prudent" move, even if it ultimately may not be needed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President Joe Biden's top medical adviser and a member of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, told MSNBC on Tuesday that having ready an  Omicron specific booster shot makes sense.

"We may not need it... but I think it's prudent to at least prepare for the possibility that this may be a persistent variant that we may have to face - even if it's at a very low level," he said.

Fauci pointed out that eventually, enough community immunity will hopefully build-up to prevent massive surges like the ones experienced before.

Despite the high rate of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic and all-time records of hospitalizations across the country, Fauci dismissed the likeliness of further surges such as the four to five waves that were driven by the variants so far. "I don't think we're going to be seeing that indefinitely."

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week" on Sunday, Fauci said that the Omicron wave was peaking nationally in the United States and that the coronavirus cases could fall to manageable levels in the coming months. “What we would hope is that, as we get into the next weeks to a month or so, we’ll see throughout the entire country the level of the infection get to below what I call that area of control.”

Fauci insisted that this did not mean eradicating the virus. Infections will continue. “They’re there but they don’t disrupt society,” he said. “That’s the best-case scenario.”


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