Fauci says vaccine still might not get US to herd immunity

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(CNN/WFLA) — Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. still may not have full herd immunity by the time it gets a vaccine for COVID-19.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said at this point, he would settle for a vaccine that is 70% to 75% effective.

“I doubt seriously that any vaccine will ever be 100% percent protective. The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98% effective,” Fauci said. “Um, oh, that would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will. I would settle for 70, 75% effective vaccine. Cause that would bring you to that level of would-be herd immunity level.”

Herd immunity comes when a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease. That can be either through prior illness or vaccination, so that continued spread of disease is unlikely.

A CNN poll found that 1/3 of Americans do not plan on getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

In an interview with The Aspen Institute on Sunday, Fauci said the American public will need more education on the issue.

When asked whether herd immunity would be reached if only 70 to 75% of Americans would get vaccinated, Fauci said it was “unlikely.”

“And that’s one of the reasons why we have to make sure we engage the community as we’re doing now to get community people, to help us for people to understand that we are doing everything we can to show that it’s safe and that it’s effective. And it’s for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccine,” he said.

Three coronavirus vaccines are expected to be studied in large-scale clinical trials over the next three months.

Fauci is also optimistic that a vaccine will be available by early next year.

“What I’ve seen thus far looks good. So with all the caveats that go with no guarantee, I still think that one can say that I’m cautiously optimistic that we will have one or maybe more candidates of vaccines that could be available and be effective by the end of the year, the beginning of 2021.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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