Fauci: Herd Immunity ‘Unlikely’ If Enough Refuse Vaccine

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a face mask as he waits to testify before a House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON (Newsmax) – Dr. Anthony Fauci said it’s “unlikely” the United States would reach herd immunity from the coronavirus even if a successful vaccine is developed because of strong resistance to getting inoculated.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spoke with CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen during an interview broadcast for the Aspen Ideas Festival Sunday night and noted there is a good chance a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be available by the end of this year or early next year.

“I still think that one can say that I’m cautiously optimistic that we will have one or maybe more candidates of vaccines that could be available and be effective by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021,” he said.

He added later, however, that pushback to getting a vaccine — some polls say as many as one-third of Americans would refuse to be vaccinated — could result in a lack of herd immunity.

“I doubt seriously that any vaccine will ever be 100% protective. The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98% effective. That would be wonderful if we get there, I don’t think we will,” Fauci said. “I would settle for a 70, 75% effective vaccine because that would bring you to that … herd immunity level.”

Fauci then said it would be “unlikely” for herd immunity to be reached if enough people refuse the vaccine, “and that’s one of the reasons why we have to make sure we engage the community, as we’re doing now, to get community people to help us for people to understand that we are doing everything we can to show that it’s safe and that it’s effective, and it’s for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccine.

“We have a lot of work to do because as you well know … there is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country — an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking.”

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