‘Umbrella of Protection’ Possible By Summer
December 23, 2020 – Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that Americans will have to wait until summer before they can resume some normal activities and attend events again.
It depends on a smooth deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine, Fauci said in an interview with “Coronavirus in Context,” a video series hosted by John Whyte, MD, chief medical officer of WebMD.
Priority groups are expected to receive a vaccine by March, and April will be an “open season” where anyone who wants to receive a vaccine can get one, he said.
“If we do it right, we could vaccinate 70 to 85% of the population. When that happens, there will be an umbrella of protection all over the country that the virus level will be so low that you will essentially have been able to establish herd immunity, ”said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Human Rights. allergies and infectious diseases. .
This level of immunity is likely to occur in late June or early July, he added, even as variants of the coronavirus emerge. Viruses often mutate and infectious disease specialists are studying the current strain in the UK which appears to be spread more easily from person to person. But there is currently no evidence that the variant leads to more severe COVID-19 or that the vaccine will not work against it, Fauci said. For now, scientists should watch it carefully.
“The European Union is banning travel from the UK. I think that might be an overreaction now,” he said. “I wouldn’t be against, at least seriously, to consider making sure that people who fly here or come here from the UK … are tested before they get on the plane so you know they are are negative when they get here. ”
Fauci also said children should be kept in school or return to school in 2021. If school systems have good protocols in place to isolate infected students and perform contact tracing, they can limit the spread. of the coronavirus while maintaining a relatively normal schedule. Children do not need to be vaccinated before schools reopen, he said.
Traditionally, vaccines have not been tested in children until advanced clinical trials in adults have been completed and the safety and efficacy data is confirmed. By mid-January to the end of January, Fauci estimated that clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine would begin in children. In the meantime, he said, educators and staff should be vaccinated, both to protect themselves and to prevent infections in children.
While survey figures show better acceptance of the vaccine, some groups are still hesitant to get it. Fauci said the key is to reach out to communities and ask people why they may be skeptical. For example, it has helped people understand the process and timing of vaccine development – and that this year’s rapid progress does not compromise vaccine safety or scientific integrity.
“What it reflects is the extraordinary scientific progress that has been made in vaccine platform technology, which has allowed us to do things in months that would normally have taken years,” he said. he declares.
For people who are concerned that political pressure or the drug companies have influenced the process or the data, Fauci said independent data and safety oversight committees are analyzing clinical trial results and drawing conclusions about the safety of the drugs. vaccines and how they work. After that, they provide the analysis to vaccine companies and scientists at the FDA, which has its own independent advisory board that studies the data.
“In reality, the whole process is independent and transparent,” Fauci said. “That’s what people need to know. When they do, I believe they will be much, much more willing to be vaccinated. “
Fauci received a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. He had no side effects and felt no pain in his arm where he received the injection a few hours before.
“You don’t feel all of this, really,” he said. “It was even less felt than the flu shot.”
Asked about the “Fauci effect”, or a trend among young students who decide to pursue a career in medicine or science, Fauci sees a greater appreciation for it for health workers and ICU doctors and nurses who have treated of patients on the front line of the pandemic.
“I think people are seeing a face of medicine that they may never have seen before, people who are really taking over and doing their job,” he said. “I do this by trying to tell the truth to the country… and health care providers put themselves – their health and their lives – at risk every day to take care of people.
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