May 21, 2021 -- The United States could avoid another resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the fall if 70% of the nation’s adults are vaccinated by July 4, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, told The Washington Post on Thursday.
“If we get to the president’s goal -- which I believe we will attain -- of getting 70% of people getting at least one dose, adults that is, by July 4, there will be enough protection in the community that I really don’t foresee there being the risk of a surge,” he said, “provided we continue to get people vaccinated at the rate we have now.”
So far, in the U.S., 60.5% of people over 18 have gotten at least one dose of vaccine, and 48.4% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Fauci said the COVID vaccine is a “positive wild card” that was not in play during the other three surges in the U.S., “when virtually no one in the country was vaccinated.”
The worst surge happened last fall and early winter, when up to 300,000 cases were being reported daily, along with more than 3,000 daily deaths, he said.
The FDA granted emergency use authorization to the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in December. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was authorized in late February.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned against overconfidence despite the pace of the vaccination program.
“You don’t want to declare victory prematurely, and it’s for that reason that we’re continuing to keep the push on to get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can,” he said.
President Joe Biden announced the 70% adult vaccination goal on May 4. He’s also announced new strategies for getting more people vaccinated, including adolescent vaccinations. The FDA recently authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15 years old.
In an interview on Wednesday, Fauci said that he expects vaccinations for much younger children to start by early next year.
Speaking at an Axios virtual event, he said children as young as 4 “would likely be able to get vaccinated by the time we reach the end of calendar year 2021, and at the latest, into the first quarter of 2022.”
Fauci said he personally favors vaccinating young children. “If I had grandchildren, I would certainly recommend they get vaccinated,” he said.
Pfizer and Moderna are conducting clinical trials on children as young as 6 months.