Vaccines do not work unless enough people get them, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.
Vaccine uptake will determine whether the country is free of the pandemic by next fall.
“Whenever you talk about vaccines, there are two elements of it,” Fauci said during a New York Times DealBook virtual seminar.
- The first is the efficacy of the vaccines. Two of the candidates that are involved with Operation Warp Speed have had “striking results, I mean more than 90% efficacy for one, 94.5% efficacy four another, that’s a huge advance, I don’t think you can have any doubt about that," Fauci said.
- Very closely connected to the efficacy though, he said, is how many people get the vaccine.
There is a challenge ahead, he said, due to hesitancy around getting vaccinated. Outreach needs to be done to make sure that the overwhelming majority of Americans get vaccinated, Fauci said, “because if we have an effective vaccine and 50% of the people don’t take it, you still have a considerable public health challenge.”
It takes “a blanket of protection” to stop an outbreak, Fauci said. “So, you’re asking me what things are going to be like in the fall, I can tell you, that really depends on whether or not we get the majority of the people, the overwhelming majority of the people, vaccinated.”
And a vaccine won’t mean an end to other measures, such as hand-washing, mask use and social distancing.
“There will always be an element of need to adhere to public health measures. The degree of stringency of it is going to depend upon the level of infection in the community,” he said.