U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNBC on Wednesday there is reason to be hopeful that people who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine may be protected against the virus’ delta variant.
Murthy pointed to data that showed the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot is highly effective against hospitalization from the more contagious variant. He also said people should think of the AstraZeneca vaccine “as a cousin” to J&J’s shot since it was “built on a similar platform.”
“While we are still awaiting direct studies of Johnson & Johnson and the delta variant, we have reasons to be hopeful, because the J&J vaccine has proven to be quite effective against preventing hospitalizations and deaths, with all the variants that we’ve seen to date,” Murthy told “The News with Shepard Smith.”
World Health Organization officials urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, social distance and practice other pandemic-related safety measures as the delta variant spreads across the globe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, affirmed Wednesday that it’s leaving it up to states and local health officials to set guidelines around mask-wearing.
Murthy said the CDC guidance was based on giving people flexibility.
“The CDC, in its guidance, essentially, was giving people flexibility and choice but wanted people to know that, if you are fully vaccinated, your risk of getting this virus or passing it on is low, which is why it said masks are not required indoors or outdoors, if you are fully vaccinated,” Murthy said.