As the US authorizes Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use, the task at hand is to encourage people that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 “is something you want to do for yourself, for your family, for the future of our nation,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Thursday.
There has been so much misinformation circulating about vaccines that even health care workers are hesitant to get vaccinated, Collins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“I’m a physician. I’m a scientist. I run the NIH. I’ve had the chance to be intimately involved in every step of the way here in the development of these vaccines,” Collins said. “There have been no shortcuts taken. There’s no hidden information. There’s no chips from Bill Gates going into it the syringes – all the crazy stuff that you read in social media, but people have been getting barraged by all kinds of crazy information.”
Collins warned that if the US does not reach 70 to 80% immunization, “we could lose even more lives and that would be the worst possible kind of tragedy.”
He urged Americans to take the raging coronavirus pandemic seriously.
“Let me plead with Americans,” Collins said, as the number of Covid-19 deaths topped 4,000 on Wednesday and hospitalizations and case numbers continued shattering records.
“Whatever you have come to, as far as the conclusion about your own ability to turn this around, set it aside,” he urged, “and let me talk to you for a minute here.”
“We know that these masks that we are all being asked to wear, they’re not political statements, they are life-saving medical devices,” Collins said.
“If we would all right today decided to set aside all of those arguments about politics and invasions of freedom and everything else and simply say, I’m going to wear this when I am outside of my home, I’m going to avoid gathering indoors with other people, especially if they don’t have masks on, I’m going to be part of the solution to protect myself but also to protect my neighbors, my grandparents, all those folks who are still out there and could still be the next casualties, we could have a chance to drag this around in the course of the next few months while we’re waiting for the vaccine,” he said.
“We have another couple of dark months ahead of us,” Collins said. “If we don’t do something at this point to try to stop this dreadful upward curve of hospitalizations and cases and deaths.
More than 310,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 and more than 17.1 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.