Dr. Anthony Fauci is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that there will be enough coronavirus vaccine shots available for any American who wants to get them by the end of 2021.

Recent polling suggests about three-quarters of the US population is interested in getting a coronavirus vaccine. 

“I don’t think you’ll ever see a mandating of vaccines, particularly for the general public,” Fauci said. “You cannot force someone to take a vaccine.”

Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Video: Epidemiologists debunk 14 coronavirus myths

There is no federally-approved vaccine for the novel coronavirus in the US yet, and the large clinical trials that will determine if candidate vaccines work safely and effectively among the general public just started earlier this summer.

But already, Dr. Anthony Fauci suspects that if Americans want a coronavirus vaccine, they’ll be able to get one before next year is up. 

“As we get well into 2021, it is likely that there’d be enough doses for anyone who wanted it,” he said on Tuesday during a virtual town hall with Healthline.

Fauci’s self-proclaimed “cautiously optimistic” outlook about the success of coronavirus vaccines in the US comes just as the federal government is readying to bankroll the manufacture of hundreds of millions of doses of candidate vaccines, which are still being tested out for both safety and effectiveness against the virus.

“Already, the process of manufacturing doses is getting geared up to take effect,” Fauci said. “The good news about that is that if it turns out the vaccine is safe and effective, you’ve already got a head start on making the doses.”

The Trump administration’s vaccine-making initiative, dubbed Operation Warp Speed, aims to have 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccines at the ready by March 2021. 

“By the beginning of 2021, there should be limited doses,” Fauci said. “You know, tens of millions —not hundreds of millions of doses.”

But all those vials may end up going straight to the trash if the vaccines don’t work well. 

Story continues

“The sobering news is that if the vaccine is not safe and effective, you wasted an awful lot of money, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Fauci, who works at the National Institutes of Health (where one of the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates is now being tried out in tens of thousands of people) said. “But that’s the federal government’s investment, in order to make things go more quickly.”

Some of the earliest results of the tests being done to determine if coronavirus vaccines actually work well in the population at large are expected this fall, from companies including AstraZeneca, Moderna (in partnership with NIH), and Pfizer (with BioNTech).

Even if those shots do turn out to be winners, and their manufacturing all goes smoothly, the 300 million initial doses of coronavirus vaccine slated to be ready for the US in the spring of next year may only be enough to vaccinate 150 million Americans, if a second booster shot is needed for each patient. That’s likely to be the case.

According to recent polling from the non-partisan Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of the country is interested in getting a coronavirus vaccine. 

Independent advisory committees are being set up to decide who should be first in line, ethically and scientifically speaking, for the initial doses. First dibs will likely go to older adults and those at high risk of infection.

Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, told Business Insider’s Andrew Dunn that young, healthy adults could get their coronavirus shots by next April in a best-case scenario.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see a mandating of vaccines, particularly for the general public,” Fauci said. “You cannot force someone to take a vaccine.”

Even if a sizeable majority of Americans opt in to an successful coronavirus vaccine, the US won’t be well-protected from the coronavirus pandemic until everyone around the world has that same access.

As Bill Gates recently told Business Insider, “the disease will just keep coming back” if not. 

Read the original article on Business Insider



Source link

Topics #Americans #cautiously #coronavirus #Fauci #optimistic #shots #vaccine