Story at a glance
- In a BBC interview, Anthony Fauci said a widely available vaccine will likely be available by mid-2021.
- He also countered President Trump’s claims that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” of the pandemic.
Public health officials and experts will know by early December as to whether or not one of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates is a safe and effective treatment, according to Anthony Fauci, but will not be widely available until 2021.
The infectious disease expert spoke to BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday and largely stayed within the agreed upon timeline amongst experts for when a vaccine will be ready for mass public distribution.
“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, beginning of December,” Fauci said, as chronicled by CNN. “The amount of doses that will be available in December will not certainly be enough to vaccinate everybody -- you'll have to wait several months into 2021.”
During the interview, the infectious diseases expert also noted that the vaccination of a “substantial portion of the population” may not be possible until the second or third quarter of 2021.
Without this widespread vaccination, the virus will continue to transmit throughout most social sectors, making the vaccination of a smaller portion of the population relatively unhelpful in terms of halting the pandemic.
Fauci has previously stated that he would want an efficacy rate of 70 to 75 percent in a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning it would protect about three-quarters of people who get vaccinated from becoming infected.
He also noted that long term immunity will only be possible if the vast majority of the public get vaccinated and that a vaccine will go hand-in-hand with continued public health efforts.
"What I do foresee is that with a successful vaccine and the continuation of some form of public health measures, as we go and progress through the months of 2021, getting towards the third and fourth quarter, we will see a considerable approach towards some form of normality,” Fauci said.
This timeline broadly clashes with President Trump’s estimation of when a vaccine will be available, previously saying it could arrive by mid-October, a claim rebuked by public health officials like the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield, as well as Fauci.
President Trump has also claimed that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak. Referring to data showcasing record daily highs of new coronavirus cases surpassing previous peaks established in the spring and summer, Fauci says the U.S. still has a long way to go.
"The data speak for themselves," Fauci said.