In a recent interview for the DealBook Online Summit, Dr. Anthony Fauci told New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin that the success rate of vaccines for COVID-19 will depend on how many people are willing to get them. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), said that the number of vaccinated people needs to be an “overwhelming majority” to stop the spread.
Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Dr. Fauci if the high efficacy they’ve seen so far through vaccine testing will mean that prolonged social distancing and mask-wearing won’t be necessary once vaccines roll out next year. Fauci explained that though the high vaccine efficacy is a huge plus, “we have a challenge ahead of some hesitancy about getting vaccinated” that will require more community outreach. He said that “you have to have a blanket of protection over the community with the vaccine” to make the “overwhelming majority” of people immune.
6. What percentage of people would make the biggest difference?
Fauci claimed that even 50% of people getting vaccinated wouldn’t be enough to end the pandemic. To significantly reduce infection rates, he said that “at least 75 percent” but “hopefully close to 80 to 85 percent” of people would need to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Using the measles vaccination as an example, Dr. Fauci further explained his point. “Measles vaccine is 98% effective…you get vaccinated, measles is essentially eliminated from the country,” Fauci said. “And you only see measles outbreak when people pull back from getting vaccinated.”
5. Fauci predicts we may get back to normal by fall 2021
When asked what he predicts could be accomplished by fall of next year, Dr. Fauci felt we could get enough control of COVID to get back to a sense of normalcy by then. He spoke of that timing in 2021 with optimism and said, “As we get into the fall, we could be quite close to some degree of normality, certainly from the standpoint of the economy, of getting businesses open, of getting sports events being attended.” Though again, according to Fauci, that all hinges on how many people get vaccinated when these meds are available.