Center for Vaccine Development director Dr. Peter Hotez said Monday on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" that since COVID-19 vaccines have been available, "150,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly lost their lives because they were defiant."

Center for Vaccine Development director Dr. Peter Hotez said Monday on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" that since COVID-19 vaccines have been available, "150,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly lost their lives because they were defiant."

Center for Vaccine Development director Dr. Peter Hotez said Monday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” that since COVID-19 vaccines have been available, “150,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly lost their lives because they were defiant.”

Hotez said, “The problem is, Chris, right now, the major component of fighting the battle against Omicron in the United States is the same as fighting the battle against Delta. By getting boosted, you’ll not only have a 30 to 40 fold rise in virus-neutralizing antibody to prevent you from getting the Delta variant or going to the hospital, but there’s likely, as Tony said, Dr. Fauci said, you’re going to get a spillover against the Omicron variant. I think that was a major message. The second component is vaccinating the kids.”

He continued, “The third component, which he didn’t say but was implied if you’ve been infected and recovered, you’re still susceptible to reinfection, so you need to get immunized. You need to get vaccinated on top of that. That will actually — there are studies to show will build in greater resilience against variants, not only Delta but Omicron as well.”

Hotez added, “The major message is get vaccinated. We’re not doing well. You’ve only got 59% of the country fully vaccinated, meaning two doses. I think only a fraction of that has three doses. We still have widespread vaccine defiance. Forty-one percent of the country has gotten no vaccines. So we are still — I mean, right now, the biggest worry in the United States is this next Delta wave that’s coming over the winter, and remember what happened in our Delta wave over the summer. Since June 1, we’ve lost, I calculate 150,000 unvaccinated Americans to COVID-19. Since June 1, 2021, 150,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly lost their lives because they were defiant. This is going to continue now with this new winter wave, whether it’s Delta or whether it’s Omicron.”

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Pam Key