Former CDC Acting Director Dr. Richard Besser doesn’t see the COVID-19 vaccine as the quick way to end the pandemic — he sees it as the long game.

What’s going on?

Besser recently spoke on the “Today” show about the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting that it’s a backup plan to stopping the virus.

  • “We have to up the conversation on what is going to turn the tide on this pandemic this winter, and it’s not vaccine — the vaccine is the long game.”
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He told “Today” that people should focus on wearing masks, washing their hands and staying away from others in order to stop the coronavirus right now.

  • “If we don’t get people to double down on wearing masks and keeping apart and washing their hands and waiting their turn for when they should be getting vaccinated, we’re going to be at real risk, especially as this UK variant starts to spread more around the country. Any lapses in those public health recommendations, in our following of those, is going to cost us in a really big way.”

Dr. Birx had similar advice before

Back in August, Dr. Deborah Birx — one of the advisers on former President Donald Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force — said waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t a great idea, either, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

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Birx said Americans can work now to stop the community spread of the coronavirus through public health measures.

  • “Do the right thing today. Because if we do the right thing today, we go into the fall with much fewer cases.”
  • “Right now, we gain freedom through wearing our masks and socially distancing.”