Story at a glance
- Anthony Fauci estimates that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available toward the end of 2020 to early 2021.
- He mentioned a vaccine awareness campaign in development, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could not confirm it.
A coronavirus vaccine could be readily available to the public between December 2020 and February 2021.
That’s the timeline Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and key member of the White House coronavirus task force, is “cautiously optimistic” about. Speaking to CNN on its Aspen Ideas Festival broadcast, Fauci confirmed that efforts to quickly fund and develop a vaccine for COVID-19 are thoroughly underway.
“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 more candidates of vaccines that will be available and will be effective by the end of 2020, early 2021,” Fauci said.
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Citing large investments from the federal government, Fauci described an expedited manufacturing process set to distribute the most effective vaccine candidate.
He explained that when vaccine candidates hit Phase 2 to early Phase 3 of testing, where they are proving to be effective, manufacturing will be well underway to provide ample doses to the public.
Although he couldn’t vouch for a specific pharmaceutical company or figure, one estimate suggests that one company may have “hundreds of millions of doses” come the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.
Fauci further said he would settle for a 70 to 75 percent efficacy rate for a potential coronavirus vaccine, because this will bring Americans to herd immunity levels. Herd immunity will only be possible, however, if the vast majority of the public receive a vaccine.
To ensure this happens, Fauci says that much work needs to be done in terms of educating people about a vaccine. He acknowledged that public awareness campaigns need to be relatable to express the necessity of getting vaccinated.
“We have a program right now that is going to be extensive in reaching out to the community,” he said. “They may not like a government person in a suit like me telling them, even though I will tell them. They really need to see people that they can relate to in the community — sports figures, community heroes, people that they look up to.”
Fauci’s comments come as more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. have contracted the virus, with some states experiencing surges in new cases.
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