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  • “I believe if we’re efficient about it and we convince people to get vaccinated, we can accomplish [herd immunity] by the end of the second quarter of 2021, namely by the end of the late spring early summer. I believe we can get there by then,” Anthony Fauci said Monday.
  • Fauci said public health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols are likely to continue through the second half and “beyond" 2021.
  • Pfizer’s vaccine received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, and the first doses were shipped and administered on Monday.

As the first coronavirus vaccines are being administered in the U.S. to high-risk groups, public health officials are projecting the nation could see signs of herd immunity against COVID-19 sometime in the late spring or early summer after vaccines are more broadly distributed. 


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During an interview Monday with MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson, Anthony Fauci said the U.S. could see herd immunity by the end of the second quarter of 2021 depending on how efficiently the vaccine is rolled out and if enough people decided to become vaccinated. 

“I believe if we’re efficient about it and we convince people to get vaccinated, we can accomplish [herd immunity] by the end of the second quarter of 2021, namely by the end of the late spring early summer. I believe we can get there by then,” Fauci said.

“By the time we get to the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so low in society we can start essentially approaching some form of normality,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. 

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a virus. This can happen either because people become vaccinated or have already been infected and build antibodies to ward off new infections. Herd immunity makes it harder for a virus to spread as a majority of people have some protection. 

Public health officials have estimated more than 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. 

Fauci said public health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols are likely to continue through the second half and “beyond” 2021. 

“Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that it’s no longer a public health threat can you then think about the possibility of then pulling back on public health measures,” he said.

Pfizer’s vaccine received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday and the first doses were shipped and administered on Monday. While health care workers and vulnerable populations are expected to receive the vaccine first, shots are expected to be widely distributed in the first months of 2021.


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Published on Dec 15, 2020