Scientists will develop a COVID-19 vaccine, but it could end up only being 50 to 60 percent effective, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
Speaking during a Brown School of Public Health webinar Friday afternoon, Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he “believe(s) we’ll get an effective vaccine.”
“But we don’t know if it’s going to be 50 percent (effective), or 60 percent. Hopefully, I’d like to see 75 percent or more,” he said. “But the chance of it being 98 percent effective is not great. Which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”
Countries must think of the vaccine as “a tool to be able to get a pandemic to no longer be a pandemic, but to be something that’s well-controlled,” he said.
“There’s control, there’s elimination, and there’s eradication,” explained Fauci, who also serves as a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Only one human infection — smallpox — has been eradicated “in the history of the planet,” he noted. However, the U.S. and a number of other countries have been able to eliminate diseases like polio and malaria.
Countries across the globe have also managed to control a host of other diseases “to a really good level,” he said.
“So what I’m shooting for is, with a vaccine, and good public health measures, we can bring (COVID-19) down to somewhere between ‘really good control’ and ‘elimination,’” he said. “That’s what a vaccine’s going to do, but it’s not going to do it alone.”