Story at a glance

  • “We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50 percent or 60 percent. I’d like it to be 75 percent or more,” Anthony Fauci said Friday.
  • The infectious disease expert said while scientists are hoping for a vaccine that is at least 75 percent effective, one that has at least a 50 percent efficacy and is safe would be acceptable.
  • The Food and Drug Administration last month said it would authorize a coronavirus vaccine as long as it is safe and is at least 50 percent effective.

White House coronavirus advisor Anthony Fauci said public health measures will likely still be needed to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control even with the development of a vaccine as it could end up being effective just half of the time. 

“We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50 percent or 60 percent. I’d like it to be 75 percent or more,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday during a webinar hosted by Brown University, according to CNBC


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Fauci said while scientists are hoping for a vaccine that is at least 75 percent effective, one that has at least a 50 percent efficacy and is safe would be acceptable. 

“The chances of it being 98 percent effective are not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach,” he said. 

The Food and Drug Administration last month said it would authorize a coronavirus vaccine as long as it is safe and is at least 50 percent effective. 

“You’ve got to think of the vaccine as a tool to be able to get the pandemic to no longer be a pandemic, but to be something that’s well controlled,” Fauci said. 

Public health officials have been pushing citizens to adhere to health measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and practicing proper hand hygiene in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. 

Researchers expect to know whether one of the several COVID-19 vaccine candidates currently being developed is safe and effective by the end of this year or early next year, although it likely wouldn’t be made widely available until several months in 2021. 

The U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. On Sunday, the U.S. surpassed 5 million confirmed cases with more than 162,000 deaths. Worldwide, there have been nearly 20 million confirmed cases with more than 731,000 deaths.

Published on Aug 07, 2020