“Vaccination, vaccination, vaccination.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci highlighted the importance of vaccinations and being gradual when lifting COVID-19 restrictions at the 6th Annual Hemispheric Security Conference on May 20. The Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden discussed the next steps in finding a global solution to COVID-19.
The virtual chat was hosted in conjunction with the U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Global Health Security of the Americas Conference. It was moderated by Colonel Susan Moran, command surgeon of SOUTHCOM.
“This interdisciplinary, whole-of-society approach to tackling COVID-19 is critical to restoring security throughout the hemisphere,” Moran said.
Remarks were also made by SOUTHCOM Commander Admiral Craig S. Faller and Jean E. Manes, SOUTHCOM civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor who formerly served as ambassador to El Salvador.
The pandemic has had long-term effects not only on the global economy and sociopolitical landscape but on national and global security as well. According to an October 2020 report by the United Nations, the pandemic “exacerbated existing global challenges, further exposing the underlying causes of insecurity, social and economic inequality with overtones of racial tension and nationalism.”
According to Fauci, NIAID has supported about 357 projects in 24 countries, focused on battling COVID-19. He stressed that this is a global problem that needs a global solution and requires working together toward that solution.
“I think [developed nations] have the moral responsibility to pull together and make sure we get doses of vaccines in an equitable manner to other areas of the world and not wait two to three years,” he said.
Speaking on a more local level, Fauci emphasized vaccination is what will assist in controlling the virus, which could essentially lead to eradication and later complete elimination.
“We have been fortunate enough to have a highly effective series of vaccines. If we vaccinate the overwhelming proportion of our population, we can get to that strict control that we talk about,” Fauci said.
“We should not declare victory until we get full control."