Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert (and untouchable purveyor of all that is true and holy in 'science' today), told a Brown University panel on Friday that probabilities of a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine "are not great."
"We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50% or 60%. I'd like it to be 75% or more," Fauci said (quoted by Reuters).
"But the chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach."
Fauci reiterated that the public must abide by these six fundamental principles to flatten the pandemic curve:
Universal wearing of a mask
Outdoors is "better" than indoors
Washing your hands
Staying away from bars
Interestingly, Fauci inched towards the idea of herd immunity and humans' own natural defense mechanisms (which of course, in political circles is frowned upon since one more death from COVID is too many).
"We know the body is capable of making a good response and the reason we know is because we have so many people who clear the virus and do well," he said.
"So the goal of a vaccine is to do as well or hopefully better than natural infection when inducing a good response."
Once a vaccine is proven and mass-produced, he said it would be prioritized to healthcare workers, elderly, and those with underlying health conditions.
"The thing you can do now is to make sure that resources are concentrated geographically to those demographic groups that are clearly at higher risk of infection so they can get immediate testing, immediate results, immediate access to healthcare," Fauci said.
He said Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine, currently in clinical trials, could produce definitive data sometime in 4Q20.
Fauci told Reuters that millions of doses could be available by early 2021, and hundreds of millions by the end of the year.
His latest comments come after he also recently questioned the "durability" of the vaccine, adding that it may not shield someone from the infection on a long-term basis.
Readers may recall pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines will be exempt from liability claims if adverse effects are seen. In other words, if an experimental vaccine, mass-produced for the public accidentally kills folks, big pharma will not be held accountable.
Meanwhile, the world's asset-gatherers and commission-rakers (and the Trump administration) is hyping vaccines with the most optimistic forecast ever, indicating Thursday the country could have vaccines before the election.
Fauci's comments are certainly at odds with the optimism that seems widespread among many talking heads that "everything can return to normal once we have a vaccine."
The figure represents an all time low, having fallen from 55 percent in early May, 50 percent in late May, and 46 percent in July.
When asked “If and when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, will you get vaccinated?” many fewer Americans across the political spectrum answered in the affirmative.
Only a majority of Democrats now plan to get vaccinated, with 55% saying they will still take the jab.
Among Republicans, only 37% say they are willing to get vaccinated, with even fewer independents, 34%, willing to take the vaccine.
Here's the full conversation: