Sept. 13, 2021 -- Getting the pandemic under control could take “many, many” more vaccine mandates, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday.
Millions of Americans still need to get vaccinated, he said, and if health officials and community members can’t reach them, then school and business mandates may be necessary.
“The other way to do it is to have many, many more mandates,” Fauci said during an interview at the 2021 national convention for the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
“I believe that’s going to turn this around because I don’t think people are going to not want to go to work or not go to college,” he said. “You’d like to have them do it on a totally voluntary basis, but if that doesn’t work, you’ve got to go to the alternatives.”
The U.S. is in a “very difficult period” of the pandemic due to the more contagious Delta variant and high level of transmission among unvaccinated people, Fauci said.
“The Delta variant has been the wild card that has really changed things,” he said. “It is much, much more efficient in its transmissibility from person to person.”
Last week, President Joe Biden announced new vaccine requirements, which include a mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccination or regular testing.
About 74% of the eligible U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose, while 63% is fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC tally updated Sunday. About 75 million people who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine haven’t gotten a shot, Fauci said Sunday.
“That’s the key to ending this,” he said. “We have the tools to end this, and yet we’re not doing it.”