Fauci backs Biden's plan for 100 million COVID-19 shots

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A promise by president-elect Joe Biden to carry out 100 million coronavirus vaccinations in his first 100 days in power is “absolutely doable”, according to the US leading infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci.

Biden has announced ambitious initiatives to fight COVID-19 ahead of his inauguration, which is due to take place on Wednesday.

While Biden’s team acknowledges that it is a steep challenge, it’s received the backing of Fauci, who is optimistic that two new vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson could be approved in the US in the next few weeks.

So far only 12 million people have received vaccines in the US.

This would add to the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA-based shots that already have emergency approval in the US.

The US has been severely affected by the pandemic, with figures recorded on Sunday morning showing 23,760,523 cases and 395,855 deaths had been recorded by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Fauci, director of the US-government funded National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told NBC’s Meet the Press that “it’s going to take a while to turn this around.”

He added: “I can tell you one thing that’s clear is that the issue of getting 100 million doses in the first 100 days, is absolutely a doable thing.”

Biden can invoke the Defense Production Act to boost supplies of the vaccine, Fauci added.

“But the feasibility of his goal is absolutely clear, there’s no doubt about it. That can be done.”

On the vaccines from J&J and AZ, Fauci said: “I would imagine within a period of a week or so, or at the most a couple of weeks, they're going to be getting their data together and showing it to the [FDA].

“They're going to have to get their data and safety monitoring board to look at it to see if it is appropriate to start, you know, essentially putting the package together to get an Emergency Use Authorization. But we're weeks away, not months away, for sure.”