Dr. Anthony Fauci said attaining herd immunity against COVID-19 requires the vaccination of around 90% of the U.S. population. Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and serves as chief medical adviser to President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.
In an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, Fauci said, “We need to have some humility here. We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.” His comments come as U.S. COVID-19 death rate reaches 326,333.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 0.3% or one million of the population received the COVID-19 vaccine since December 14.
Dr. Fauci also explained that the more infectious the disease is, the higher rate of vaccination is required so that herd immunity becomes possible.
“When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent. Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.” Fauci told the Times.
Since the pandemic reached the U.S. in March 2020, many epidemiologists and even the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that 60 to 70 percent population should be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
However, Dr. Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that we can defang the virus sooner if the most vulnerable people get vaccinated.
“We don’t have to have zero transmission in order to have a decent society. We have lots of diseases, like flu, transmitting all the time, and we don’t shut down society for that. If we can vaccinate almost all the people who are most at risk of severe outcomes, then this would become a milder disease,” Dr. Lipsitch.
Thankfully, scientists say the new covid-19 variant can’t resist the vaccine and we might not need to wait for a long-time before this nightmare ends.
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