Fauci says 85% of U.S. population will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for 'herd immunity' 


Fauci says 85% of Americans will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the U.S. to reach ‘herd immunity’

  • Dr Anthony Fauci said 85% of Americans will need to get coronavirus vaccines for the U.S. to achieve ‘herd immunity’
  • This occurs when enough of the population is immunized or has recovered from the illness so the disease is unable to spread 
  • A recent poll showed that nearly 84% of Americans want to get the  jab, but 44% of them want to wait a bit before doing so
  • Pfizer Inc’s vaccine was approved by the FDA last week and Moderna Inc’s is expected to be authorized this week
  • Both shots have been shown to be about 95% effective, which Fauci says is ‘as good as it gets’ 

The nation’s top infectious expert says that more than three-quarters of the U.S. population will need to receive COVID-19 vaccines to achieve ‘herd immunity.’

Dr Anthony Fauci said that, although the country will start to see the effects of the vaccine when about 50 percent are immunized, much more is needed to suppress the deadly virus. 

‘If you really want true herd immunity, where you get a blanket of protection over the country…you want about 75 to 85 percent of the country to get vaccinated,’ Fauci told Vox’s Today Explained.

‘I would say even closer to 85 percent. We’ve got to get as many people as we possibly can.’

It comes one day before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory committee is set to meet to recommend whether or not to approve Moderna Inc’s vaccine and add a second jab, along with Pfizer Inc’s, to the national rollout.

Dr Anthony Fauci said 85% of Americans will need to get coronavirus vaccines for the U.S. to achieve 'herd immunity.' Pictured: Fauci testifies at a U.S. Senate committee at the U.S. Capitol, September 23

Dr Anthony Fauci said 85% of Americans will need to get coronavirus vaccines for the U.S. to achieve ‘herd immunity.’ Pictured: Fauci testifies at a U.S. Senate committee at the U.S. Capitol, September 23

A recent poll showed that nearly 84% of Americans want to get the jab, but 44% of them want to wait a bit before doing so. Pictured: Christian Gardner, clinic nurse leader in the emergency department at Rochester General Hospital, receives his vaccination from nurse Shannon McCarthy-Leone, December 15

A recent poll showed that nearly 84% of Americans want to get the jab, but 44% of them want to wait a bit before doing so. Pictured: Christian Gardner, clinic nurse leader in the emergency department at Rochester General Hospital, receives his vaccination from nurse Shannon McCarthy-Leone, December 15

Public health officials have warned for years that vaccines not only protect individuals but also the community as a whole in what is known as ‘herd immunity.’

This occurs when the vast majority of a community – between 80 and 95 percent – becomes immune so that, if a disease is introduced, it is unable to spread.

Therefore, those who are unable to be vaccinated, including the ill, very young and very old, are protected.

A few months ago, the idea of getting at least 80 percent of Americans vaccinated seemed like a pipe dream. 

In September, a poll conducted by Axios-Ipsos found that nearly six in 10 people did not want to receive the jab against COVID-19 as soon as it becomes available.

That was a 15 percent increase from the 53 percent that reported the same sentiment at the end of August.

However, this was mainly due to fears that the FDA was under political pressure by President Donald Trump to approve an immunization before the November 3 presidential election. 

But Pfizer’s vaccine was approved just last week and Moderna’s is expected to be authorized this week.

And a new poll from ABCNews/Ipsos found that nearly 84 percent of Americans say they will get a coronavirus vaccine, even though 44 percent said they would rather ‘wait a bit’ after the rollout of shots to get theirs. 

One reason public attitudes may have changed is because the vaccines weren’t approved by the election deadline.

Another reason is that clinical data has showed that both vaccines are around 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19.

In fact, Moderna’s was also found to be 100 percent effective at preventing severe disease.

That’s ‘almost as good as it gets,’ Fauci told Vox. 

‘We’re not too far away. [We’re] right in that ballpark of a really extraordinary vaccine. 

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