November 19, 2020 -- Anthony Fauci, MD, says the coronavirus vaccine might be available on a widespread basis as early as April, and Pfizer announced it would seek emergency approval for its vaccine within days.
Health care workers and other essential workers should be able to get the vaccine by late December or January, Fauci told USA Today. After at-risk people are vaccinated, healthy members of the general public can expect the vaccine to be available from April to July, he said.
If large numbers of people are vaccinated, that should bring a sense of normalcy to the country, said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Then you can start talking about this umbrella or blanket of protection on society that would diminish dramatically the risk of a person being exposed or even being infected,” he said. “When so many people are protected, that’s when you get into the real herd immunity.”
Fauci said it won’t be easy getting large numbers of people vaccinated because of suspicion and “vaccine hesitancy,” especially among minority communities.
A recent Gallup Poll showed 48% of people of color in the U.S. said they’d take a coronavirus vaccine, compared to 61% of White respondents. Overall, about 58% of American poll respondents said they’d take a vaccine.
Drug companies have been racing to develop a vaccine for the virus.
Pfizer says in a Wednesday news release that it will apply “within days” with the FDA for emergency use authorization for its vaccine. The pharmaceutical company said its third-stage clinical trials show its vaccine is about 95% effective.
Moderna said its vaccine is also proving to be more than 90% effective.
Fauci also told USA Today that he has not spoken to President-elect Joe Biden but is eager to start working with Biden’s transition team on a strategy against the coronavirus.
Fauci said he thinks the Biden team has not approached him because it doesn’t want to put him in a "compromised position" because President Donald Trump has not conceded the election.