US assistant health secretary discusses COVID-19 vaccine

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Although more people are getting vaccinated, the nation’s assistant secretary of health says we still have a long way to go.”This is a good place right now, but we now have to redouble our efforts,” Dr. Rachel Levine said.News 8 spoke with Levine for the first time since the former Pennsylvania health secretary took her new post in the Biden administration.Levine said the increase in new cases and more contagious strains highlight the need to get vaccinated.”We all need to work together to get the vaccinations and support each other,” she said.Levine said she got a shot a little more than two weeks ago.”I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That should show my confidence in the vaccine,” she said.A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will decide Friday whether to lift the pause on the J&J (Janssen) vaccine. Use of the vaccine was suspended last week due to blood clot concerns.When asked if she believed the J&J suspension is impacting Americans’ decision to get vaccinated, she said, “I think that this should reassure people about our dedication to safety because the monitoring systems that we have work.”Vaccine hesitancy is an issue. Data shows just over 50% of health care workers have chosen to get shots.”Being the first, maybe they were hesitant because that was in December or in January, so now that there have been hundreds of millions of doses that have been administered, people can feel even more comfortable about their safety,” she said.Levine said she believes herd immunity will be achieved, although people may need boosters.

Although more people are getting vaccinated, the nation’s assistant secretary of health says we still have a long way to go.

“This is a good place right now, but we now have to redouble our efforts,” Dr. Rachel Levine said.

News 8 spoke with Levine for the first time since the former Pennsylvania health secretary took her new post in the Biden administration.

Levine said the increase in new cases and more contagious strains highlight the need to get vaccinated.

“We all need to work together to get the vaccinations and support each other,” she said.

Levine said she got a shot a little more than two weeks ago.

“I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That should show my confidence in the vaccine,” she said.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel will decide Friday whether to lift the pause on the J&J (Janssen) vaccine. Use of the vaccine was suspended last week due to blood clot concerns.

When asked if she believed the J&J suspension is impacting Americans’ decision to get vaccinated, she said, “I think that this should reassure people about our dedication to safety because the monitoring systems that we have work.”

Vaccine hesitancy is an issue. Data shows just over 50% of health care workers have chosen to get shots.

“Being the first, maybe they were hesitant because that was in December or in January, so now that there have been hundreds of millions of doses that have been administered, people can feel even more comfortable about their safety,” she said.

Levine said she believes herd immunity will be achieved, although people may need boosters.

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