Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that he would “settle” for a coronavirus that is 70-75% effective.
He said this incomplete protection along with the fact that many Americans say they will not get a COVID-19 vaccine makes it “unlikely” that the nation will achieve enough “herd immunity” to combat the outbreak.
Dr. Fauci, who is also a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said, “The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective. That would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will. I would settle for 70-75% effective vaccine.”
Last month, a CNN survey found that one-third of Americans said they would not get vaccinated against COVID-19 even if the vaccine is available at a lower cost.
CNN asked Dr. Fauci whether a vaccine with 70-75% efficacy would provide sufficient herd immunity to quell the outbreak. He replied, “No – unlikely.”
Herd immunity is achieved when sufficient people are immune to an infectious disease so that human-to-human spread is unlikely.
Dr. Fauci noted, “There is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country – an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking.”
He said “we have a lot of work to do” to educate people about the truth of vaccines given the fact that many people are against vaccines.
“We have a program right now that’s going to be extensive in reaching out to the community,” the NIAID director said. “They may not like a government person in a suit like me telling them, even though I will tell them. They really need to see people that they can relate to in the community — sports figures, community heroes, people that they look up to.”
Dr. Fauci was asked what grade he would give the nation for handling the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. He answered some states were doing well than others.
He said, “Some states are going to be A+. Some are going to be A, and some are going to be down in C somewhere.” He singled New York out for doing “really well.”
“There are some states in which the leadership and the decision [to open up] was a little too precipitous,” he added. “There are others when the leadership did it right, but the citizenry didn’t listen to them.”
Dr. Fauci also said that contact tracing in the United States is not going well. He said, “I don’t think we’re doing very well,” when asked about the progress of contract tracing in the country.
“If you go into the community and call up and say, ‘how’s the contact tracing going?’ the dots are not connected because a lot of it is done by phone,” he added. “You make a contact, 50% of the people, because you’re coming from an authority, don’t even want to talk to you.” He recommended that communities “get boots on the ground and to go out there and look for the people, instead of getting on a phone and doing so-called contact tracing by phone.”