Dr. Anthony Fauci said that urging people who think of coronavirus as fake news to get vaccinated might become a challenge.
“They actually don’t think that this is a problem,” the White House coronavirus advisor said during a conversation with The Hastings Center. “Despite a quarter-million deaths, despite more than 11 million infections, despite 150,000 new infections a day, they don’t believe it’s real. That is a real problem.”
Dr. Fauci’s statements echo those published in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday where he admitted he was “stunned” that there are people who live in areas with devastating Covid-19 outbreaks but still consider the coronavirus to be fake news.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that around 75% of the country must be vaccinated against Covid-19.
“What I would like to see is the overwhelming majority of people get vaccinated so we can essentially really crush this outbreak,” Fauci said during The New York Times’ DealBook conference Tuesday.
He also stressed that convincing Americans to receive a Covid-19 vaccine will be a challenge. A new Gallup poll released showed that 58% of adults said they would get vaccinated when the treatment becomes available. While this appears as an increase from findings in September, it remains lower than the 66% who said they would get inoculated earlier in the outbreak
“If we have an effective vaccine and 50% of the people don’t take it, you still have a considerable public health challenge,” Dr. Fauci said.
“Because the way you get an outbreak under control, to bring it down to such a minimal level it’s no longer a threat, you have to have a blanket of protection over the community with the vaccine that is the overwhelming majority of the community,” he added.
However, the Gallup survey was held from Oct. 19 to Nov. 1, before Pfizer and Moderna announced their promising clinical trial results.
“The speed itself is a reflection of scientific advances. In other words, the technology of making a vaccine is not your grandfather’s technology. It’s the 21st-century technology,” he said.
The credibility of vaccine approval
Moreover, details from the vaccines’ trials are assessed by an external and independent data safety monitoring board that is “beholden to no one,” Dr. Fauci said. When the data becomes available to the drugmakers and other government agencies, it is submitted to career scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval along with an independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, he explained.
“By the time you get the FDA deeming that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine, you’ve had an independent and transparent process decide,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’ve got to keep hammering that home because, for the group of people who are concerned about the process, the process is sound.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) says Covid vaccines must be “a global, public good” and warns it is not a “silver bullet.”
“I firmly believe that there is more hope ahead of us than despair behind us,” Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said in an online broadcast. He stressed that vaccines would not be a “silver bullet” as access to treatment would not be wide right away.