Anthony Fauci testified to a Senate committee Tuesday that he would "not be surprised" if the USA begins reporting as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, adding, "I'm very concerned and not satisfied with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction". The best we've ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98% effective. "I would settle for [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine".
"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. "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".
Medford added that he felt Fauci's concerns were well-founded, given the likelihood that a coronavirus vaccine will not be 100 percent effective and the fact that most polls find a substantial percentage of Americans would resist getting vaccinated.
"I doubt seriously that any vaccine will ever be 100% protective".
Benjamin added that "antivax folks are actively discouraging people from getting the vaccine and I think everyone is anxious that we are not promoting vaccination enough". Herd immunity is when enough of a population has either had a virus or had a vaccine so that person-to-person transmission is limited.
But asked about polling that said around a third of Americans would not get a coronavirus vaccine when one is developed, Dr Fauci said that such a high level of refusal would mean it was "unlikely" the vaccine would get the USA to herd immunity level. To get people educated and knowledgable about vaccines, Fauci recommended that celebrities and relatable community figures must provide reason and rationale for the vaccine. "History suggests "it takes a while to convince people" when a new vaccine reaches the public" and in that sense Fauci's concerns are "nothing new", he said.
The public health implications of widespread anti-vaccination sentiment have come to the fore in recent years thanks to localised outbreaks of preventable diseases, most notoriously a measles flare-up in NY that saw more than 600 cases in 2018-19.