This is no time to "prematurely declare victory," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical officer, on Tuesday.
The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases repeated the AstraZeneca
COVID-19 shot must never be used in the US, warns in a BBC interview: "We clearly have enough vaccine or will be given enough vaccine that AstraZeneca does not contain, which would be sufficient quantitatively to vaccinate everyone in the US. "
The vaccine, developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company at Oxford University, was studied after some vaccinated people developed unusual blood clots.
The World Health Organization's Advisory Vaccine Safety Panel said last week that a blood clot link, while plausible, has not been confirmed and the cases are very rare.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention separately requested a break in Johnson & Johnson's administration early Tuesday
Single-dose vaccine in the US, also for blood clot problems.
Read: AstraZeneca vaccine linked to rare blood clots, EMA officials told the newspaper
Latest news: FDA and CDC are calling for a break in the use of the J&J vaccine because of bleeding disorders
Speaking to BBC Radio, Fauci said, “I think the AstraZeneca vaccine is a good vaccine from an efficacy standpoint. Whether we'll ever use it or not is unclear, but it currently looks like we don't need it. It's not a negative indictment against AZ, it's just possible that given what other companies are offering, we may not need to use AZ vaccine. "
He said that if the safety issue is resolved in the European Union – where there is "a bit of controversy about how to use it" and when to use it and what age group it should be given – "if that is resolved, the effectiveness of this vaccine is really pretty good. "
Read: AstraZeneca may have included “out of date information” in the data from its vaccine studies, according to the US Department of Health
Around 72 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, and around 120 million have received at least one dose, according to Fauci, who cautioned against complacency. "So it's going well," he said. “The problem is, we are currently seeing an alarming increase in the number of cases per day in several states.
“Some of the governors and mayors and others are withdrawing mask mandates and allowing restaurants and bars to open, which is a very risky situation.
“I think we have 70,000 or even the latest 80,000 new cases now, I think. With vaccinations going on and on, and with three to four million people vaccinated today, that would cushion a real explosion in the surge, but possibly not a moderate surge that we don't want to see. This is no time to prematurely declare victory as we have such a successful rollout of vaccines. "
Despite the vaccination, Fauci admitted that he never went to restaurants or changed his behavior. "Well, at the moment I haven't changed my behavior, but it's mostly the nature of my job," he said. "I don't go to restaurants now, even though I have been vaccinated, because I'm just so excited about what I do."
In late March, Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of AstraZeneca's biopharmaceuticals division, said it was the US government's decision what to do with the doses, but he would be “very surprised” if the doses weren't used to vaccinating and adding to Americans that there is still a "great need" and that government officials are "very excited" about intermediate dates.
If approved, 30 million doses would be shipped to the U.S. immediately, followed by another 20 million in the same month, Dobber told reporters at the time.
Read: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine launch begins in England, offering an alternative to AstraZeneca for children under 30