Speed Reads

'a lot of work to do'

Fauci says it's 'unlikely' U.S. will get to herd immunity if many Americans refuse to get coronavirus vaccine

The United States may not get to herd immunity if many Americans refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine that's around 70 percent effective, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview with CNN spoke about how effective a COVID-19 vaccine might be, noting that this remains unclear but that he'd "settle" for one being about 70 or 75 percent effective since "that would bring you to that level of what would be herd immunity level." Herd immunity, as the Mayo Clinic explains, "occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely."

This prompted a question from CNN's Elizabeth Cohen about whether the U.S. would be able to get to herd immunity if a coronavirus vaccine is about 70 or 75 percent effective like Fauci said and if around a third of Americans refuse to get it.

"Unlikely," Fauci said.

Cohen pointed to some polls indicating how many Americans either say they wouldn't get a coronavirus vaccine or aren't sure; in a May CNN poll, for example, about a third of respondents said they wouldn't try to get the vaccine.

Fauci in the interview noted it's important to get "people to understand that we're doing everything we can to show that it's safe and that it's effective, and it's for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccine," but given the "anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country," there's "a lot of work to do." Brendan Morrow