An infectious disease specialist says a coronavirus vaccine that’s only 50% effective would help the battle against the virus because it’s “better than what we have now.”

Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was asked Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press about comments by Anthony Fauci, MD, who said the initial form of a coronavirus vaccine might help only half the population.

“I think we would take 50% because 50% would be a lot better than what we have now,” Inglesby said.

"We all want something that's 75, 85, 90 percent effective. We’ll have to see what we get, and I think for the amount of time that has passed since this pandemic to have a vaccine that’s even 50% effective in the coming months or the beginning of 2021 would be phenomenal."

Inglesby said a vaccine could help the United States reach herd immunity.

“Herd immunity doesn’t mean we won't have the disease anymore,” he said. “It means it’s not going to as efficiently spread in an epidemic form.”

The FDA has said it would approve a vaccine that’s 50% effective. The U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed seeks to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. More than 20 vaccines are in clinical trials.

Inglesby said that national unity is needed to battle the still-growing COVID-19 epidemic. Over the weekend, the United States recorded its 5 millionth case.

"I think we know what to do, other countries have done it,” he said. “We know that in other countries, universal masking, physical distancing, avoiding larger gatherings, those kinds of things have worked.

“If we look at countries like Italy and Spain and France, they have a total of about seven or eight deaths a day and we have a thousand. If we act together in national unison, we can get there.”