Dr. Fauci dismissed accusations that he moved the goalposts on when the country would vaccinate enough people against COVID-19 to reach herd immunity, saying he was previously offering “guesstimates.”
Fauci said that he’s doing all he can to encourage people, both in the U.S. and globally, to get the vaccine.
Fauci said that the U.S. might see “open season” – the point at which the vaccine is offered to the general public – around the end of March.
Reported by other news outlets as a “confession,” Fauci told The New York Times “When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent …Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80,85.“
Fauci has focused on the other part of that New York Times report in where he compared measles to Covid-19, saying at the time that “I’d bet my house that Covid-19 isn’t as contagious as measles.”
“Measles is about 98% effective vaccine; the COVID-19 vaccine is about 94%,” Fauci said.
“When you get below 90% of the population vaccinated with measles, you start seeing a breakthrough against the herd immunity, people starting to get infected, like we saw in upper New York State and in New York City, with the Orthodox Jewish group, when we had the measles outbreak.”
“So I made a calculation that COVID-19 is not as nearly as transmissible as measles,” Fauci added, stressing that measles is “the most transmissible” virus.