What’s a realistic timeline for a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to be available to the public? How long will it really take to get back to “normal life”?
Research is progressing well on several of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates, but Dr. Anthony Fauci wants everyone to understand that even under the best-case scenario, getting back to normal won’t happen overnight.
“Right now, today, in real time, we’re averaging close to 40,000 new infections a day and 1,000 deaths,” Fauci said. “So we are still in the middle of this. In order to get any semblance of normality, you’ve got to get that baseline number of infections way down.”
He said he’s still optimistic about a vaccine.
“When we get a vaccine, let’s say, available at the end of the year, there will be millions and tens of millions of doses available,” Fauci said. “It won’t be until we get into 2021 that you’ll have have hundreds of millions of doses, and just the logistics constraints in vaccinating large numbers of people. It’s going to take months to get enough people vaccinated to have an umbrella of immunity over the community so that you don’t have to worry about easy transmission.
“It’s not going to be turning a switch off and turning a switch on. It’s going to be gradual, and I think it’s going to take several months before we get to the point where we can really feel something that approximates how it was normally before COVID-19.”
Fauci said the politically charged atmosphere makes it difficult to get people on the same page, but the recent 9/11 anniversary is a reminder of what Americans can do when they’re united in a fight.
“We pulled together after that tragedy and really came together as a nation, which hopefully we can do now within the context of this historic pandemic that we’re going through,” Fauci said.
He urged Americans to hunker down as we head into fall and winter and to follow the recommendations on wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and being outside.
He stressed we don’t need to shut everything down again if people accept the responsibility of taking precautions.