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Dr. Fauci: Vaccine Development 'Extraordinary', Way to Herd Immunity

Dr. Fauci: Vaccine Development 'Extraordinary', Way to Herd Immunity
Dr. Anthony Fauci (AP)

By    |   Saturday, 13 March 2021 09:10 PM

The development of three COVID-19 vaccines in a year's time was "extraordinary," as the safest road to herd immunity is vaccination, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says in an interview airing Sunday.  

"If several years ago you would have said from the time you have a recognition of a new pathogen, that 11 months later you actually had vaccines that have proven to be safe and efficacious going into people's arms, most anybody would have told you that you're in a different galaxy," Fauci tells Greta Van Susteren in an interview for Gray Television's "Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren."

But, Fauci said, 70% to 85% of Americans will need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to be achieved, as the virus would have nowhere to travel and infections will drop. 

He added that on a one to 10 scale, it's about a "15" that the vaccinations ramped up so quickly, and in a way that is safe and effective. 

"The important thing is that safety was not compromised nor was scientific integrity compromised," said Fauci. "It was merely a really profound reflection of the extraordinary advances that have been made in the science of vaccine platform technology, immunogen design."

And, he added that even though the process looked rapid, the research behind the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines was backed up "by decades of fundamental research."

However, even with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines showing efficacy for 95% of the people who get it, the shots don't work for a small number of people when no two immune systems are the same. 

"It's merely the biological variability within our species, which is entirely normal," he said. "You almost never get 100% conformity of everybody to a particular response. Almost never."

It's also not known yet how long the vaccines will last, as the scientific community is still in the very early stages of follow-up. 

"We know now that it certainly lasts for several months because we've been in it for several months," he said. "If at the end of a year or two, it still has a high level of protection, then you could say it lasts for one or two years or longer. We just don't know right now."

Meanwhile, mutations popping up in the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have the capability of spreading rapidly, but the vaccines that have been released so far have enough cushion to prevent people from having a severe disease that leads to hospitalizations and deaths, said Fauci. 

Meanwhile, different people have different reactions to the vaccine, and an ache or fatigue shows that a person's inflammatory process is building protection through an immune response. But that doesn't mean people who don't have a reaction aren't building an immune response, said Fauci. 

He added that the CDC is still working to determine how many immunized people will be able to gather together, as they want to go "step-by-step."

"The fewer number of people, the lower the risk," he said. "Even though 10, 15, 20 still might be very, very low risk. The fact is the more people, the greater the risk. And they are trying to start off with the first steps being the absolute minimum risk."

Fauci also discussed the return of children to school, noting that as more teachers are vaccinated, the safer matters will be. 

"The more we vaccinate people in the community, the lower and lower will be the infection rate in the community and the lower you get, then you go from a red to an orange to a yellow to a blue zone," he said. "So that, get the level in the community low, increase testing in the kids, get the teachers vaccinated and you'll see it'll be easier and easier to get those schools open and stay open.

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The development of three COVID-19 vaccines in a year's time was "extraordinary," as the safest road to herd immunity is vaccination, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
drfauci, covid, herdimmunity, coronavirus
Saturday, 13 March 2021 09:10 PM
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