Intensive-care unit and lung doctor Dr. Vin Gupta told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that patients should stop weighing the pros and cons of which Covid vaccine is better and get the first shot available into their arms as soon as possible, despite a new Israeli study that shows the Pfizer vaccine actually stops the spread of Covid.
“People are saying, maybe I want the Pfizer vaccine instead of Johnson & Johnson or a different one,” said Gupta, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, during a Monday evening interview. “That’s the wrong way to think about it. Brand here doesn’t matter. Get the first vaccine available.”
Gupta tweeted a photo of the lungs of a Covid patient who died on life support. The lungs developed holes where there was once lung tissue, and Gupta said that the vaccines can prevent that type of severe progression of the virus.
“That right-sided image is severe pneumonia that requires life support,” explained Gupta. “All the vaccines in the pipeline or approved will prevent that from happening, regardless of the variant.”
The United States surpassed 500,000 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that’s double any other nation, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In fact, over the past year, the U.S. averaged roughly one death every minute.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris honored the lives lost on Monday with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House. Biden also ordered that flags on federal land be lowered at half staff for the next five days, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The bells at the Washington National Cathedral rang 500 times in memory of the Americans killed by Covid.
The grim pandemic milestone comes as virus numbers are showing improvement. According to Johns Hopkins, the average daily cases are at 69,986, which is down 52% this month alone. The average daily deaths are at 1,872, the lowest since Dec. 2. Hospitalizations are down 41% this month alone, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Gupta told host Shepard Smith, however, that people should not let their guard down when it comes to the virus.
“I think, right now, we still need to be very cautious in how we think about this good news,” Gupta said. “We still need to be vigilant but, yes, this is really good news, light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully by mid-summer.”
The highly transmissible new Covid variants have appeared in multiple locations across the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.K. variant was detected in 44 states, the South Africa variant was detected in 10 states, and the Brazil variant was detected in 4 states.
Gupta noted that the U.S. does not have the sequencing technology to understand the “true prevalence” of the variants, and is a further reason for Americans to remain vigilant against the virus.