Fauci: If Only 50% Get Vaccinated We Lack ‘Umbrella of Immunity over Us’

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 26: A children's doctor injects a vaccine against measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox to an infant on February 26, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The city of Berlin is facing an outbreak of measles that in recent weeks has led to over 700 cases and one …
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Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed that well over a majority of Americans will need to get vaccinated in order to create a proper “umbrella of immunity over us,” making the remarks during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) Monday’s press conference.

Cuomo expressed frustration over recent surveys showing a significant portion of Americans remain skeptical about taking a vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus when it becomes ready and available. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a review, indicating the vaccination from Pfizer and BioNTech satisfies initial requirements, meaning emergency use authorization (EUA) could be forthcoming as early as this week.

“I’m also frustrated that we see polls that suggest a high percent of Americans are not ready to take this vaccine, 49 percent nationwide,” Cuomo said, adding that it is a “bigger problem in the black community,” where 57 percent say they’re not ready to take the vaccine.

“But 75 percent to 80 percent needs to be vaccinated to hit critical mass on the vaccination and that’s a problem if you have 50 percent saying ‘I’m not taking it,’ but we have to hit 75 to 80,” he continued.

Reaching 75-80 percent, the governor said, is “going to be very hard to reach,” but Cuomo added that officials are going to be “very aggressive” on public education and outreach.

“But what does your crystal ball say?” he asked Fauci. “When is 75-80 even feasible?” he asked Fauci.

Fauci said having 75 to 80 percent of the people vaccinated will create an “umbrella of protection over the community that the level of community spread will be really, really very low.”

“The virus will not have any place to go. It’s almost, metaphorically if you think the virus is looking for some victims, when most of the people are protected the virus has a hard time latching on to someone,” he said before adding that even half the population agreeing to get vaccination will not be enough for an “umbrella of immunity.”

“When that happens, Governor, is going to be entirely dependent upon how well we do, how well I do, you do, your health officials, in getting the message out of why it’s so important for people to get vaccinated, because if 50 percent of the people get vaccinated, then we don’t have that umbrella of immunity over us,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director added.

Ultimately, if they do a “really good job of convincing people between now and the end of December,” Fauci said the U.S. should be in “good shape” by the third quarter of 2021:

But let’s say it works out well, let me answer your question specifically, and we do a really good job of convincing people between now and the end of December, you’d likely get a substantial proportion of healthcare providers and people in your nursing homes. As you get into January, you’ll get the second level, and then February, the third. I would think by the time you get to the beginning of April, you’ll start getting people who have no high priority, just a normal man and woman New Yorker on the street who’s well, has no underlying conditions. If we get them vaccinated in a full court press, get them really going, and you do that through April, May and June, by the time you get to the summer – because remember it’s a prime boost, which means you get vaccinated today, you get a boost 28 days from now, and then seven to 10 days following that, you’re optimally protected. Even though you could get some protection even after the first shot, but optimally it’s within seven to 10 days following the second shot. If we do that well, by the time we get into the core of the summer and get to the end of the summer and into the start of the third quarter of 2021, we should be in good shape. That’s what I’m hoping for, and that’s the reason why it’s so important to extend ourselves out to the community, particularly to the Black, African-American, Latino, the people who are undocumented, the people who we really need to get vaccinated.

I couldn’t agree with you more on that. I’m pushing the Congress right now,” Cuomo added.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday to ensure that Americans get the vaccine first.


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