Dr. Fauci says up to 90% of population needs to get vaccinated for herd immunity against virus

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in Washington DC on September 23, 2020.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said that it could take up to 90% of the US population to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus. 
  • "We really don't know what the real number is," Fauci said in an interview with The New York Times. "I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I'm not going to say 90 percent."
  • This month, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized both Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use which have been rolled out  across the country.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci said that it could take up to 90% of the US population to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus. 

Fauci told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that "when polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent," but "when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85."

"We really don't know what the real number is," Fauci added. "I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I'm not going to say 90 percent."

This estimate comes after Fauci told Vox earlier this month that "you want about 75 to 85 percent of the country to get vaccinated" to reach herd immunity. 

This month, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized both Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, and healthcare professionals and frontline workers across the country have been getting vaccinations since the vaccine rollouts. 

Although Fauci has pointed out the need for a large portion of the US population to be vaccinated for herd immunity to take place, as Business Insider's Andrea Michelson and Anna Medaris Miller reported,  he has said that "you don't want to mandate and try and force anyone to take the vaccine."

"You can mandate for certain groups of people like health workers, but for the general population you cannot," Fauci said in August at George Washington University's virtual event. "It would be unenforceable and not appropriate."

The US continues to see record numbers of coronavirus cases. As of Sunday, the US surpassed 18.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

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