Dr. Fauci says coronavirus vaccine could end up being only about 50% effective; chances of the vaccine being highly effective is ‘not great’
Millions of Americans are skeptical about the upcoming coronavirus vaccine. A new poll released on July 9 found that only half of America’s population would be willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine if it were available. Another poll cited by the journal Science on June 30, found that just 50% of people in the U.S. are committed to receiving the vaccine, while a May CNN poll found 33% of Americans unwilling to get vaccinated against the disease.
Their skepticism may be well-founded. According to a report from RaDVac, a group of citizen scientists associated with Harvard Medical School, influenza killed about 100,000 people in the U.S. between late 2016 and early 2018. Yet, the influenza vaccines available in that period were less than 50% effective against H3N2, the flu strain mainly responsible for the death toll. Many who died were vaccinated but not protected from the virus, and testing for vaccine-induced immunity was essentially non-existent.
If that’s not enough, today the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci dampens the hope about the new coronavirus vaccine currently undergoing human trials. Dr. Fauci said the new coronavirus vaccine could end up being effective only half the time. He said public health measures will likely still be needed to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control even with the development of a vaccine as it could end up being effective just half of the time.
“We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50 percent or 60 percent. I’d like it to be 75 percent or more,” Dr. Fauci said Friday during a webinar hosted by Brown University, according to a report from CNBC.
During a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health, Dr. Fauci explained:
“Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too. The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”
“You’ve got to think of the vaccine as a tool to be able to get the pandemic to no longer be a pandemic, but to be something that’s well controlled,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it would authorize the COVID-19 vaccine so long as it is safe and at least 50% effective. Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner, said last month that the vaccine or vaccines that end up getting authorized will prove to be more than 50% effective, but it’s possible the U.S. could end up with a vaccine that, on average, reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by just 50%.