Dr. Fauci Just Said You'll Be Able to Get the COVID Vaccine Even Sooner
The leading immunologist bumped up the expected timeline for vaccinating the general public.
For the past few months Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has been sharing his predictions about when the U.S. will return to some semblance of normalcy—and it's all coming down to the vaccine. Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use approval for the Pfizer vaccine, Fauci's timeline for the COVID vaccine is getting earlier and earlier. On Monday, the leading immunologist had a new forecast for when the general public will be able to get vaccinated—and it's fairly soon.
During an interview on MSNBC on Dec. 14, Fauci told anchor Hallie Jackson that by his calculations, "some time by the end of March, the beginning of April … the normal healthy man and woman in the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get [the vaccine]." It's the earliest date Fauci has predicted so far.
To see more of Fauci's vaccine predictions, read on, and to find out what you should avoid doing after getting inoculated, check out You Shouldn't Do This Right After Getting a COVID Vaccine, Expert Warns.
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The timeline all depends on "the efficiency of the rollout."
Before the general public can begin getting vaccinated, the high-priority groups must be taken care of, namely healthcare workers, long-term care residents and employees, essential workers, those with underlying conditions, and seniors. How quickly the vaccine is distributed to those populations will influence how quickly the rest of the country can start getting the vaccine.
"It really is going to depend on the efficiency of the rollout," Fauci said on MSNBC. The NIAID director went on to point out that "the number of people that actually come forth" to get vaccinated will also impact how quickly we are able to return to normalcy. And for more predictions from the NIAID director, check out Dr. Fauci Says This One Thing Could Spread COVID More Than Anything Yet.
But the majority of Americans could be vaccinated "by the end of the late spring, early summer."
Once non-high-priority Americans are able to get access to the vaccine, the U.S. will be on a path to normalcy. Fauci says the "umbrella of herd immunity" that comes with vaccinating the majority of the population is what really matters in combating the spread of COVID. "I believe if we're efficient about it and we can convince people to get vaccinated, we can accomplish that by the end of the second quarter of 2021, namely by the end of the late spring, early summer," he told Jackson. To see if you should talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine, check out These Are the Only People Who Shouldn't Get the COVID Vaccine.
Then, we will begin to get back to normal around the fall.
Although vaccines may start going out to the general public as early as March, you shouldn't assume things will go back to normal overnight. Fauci believes that if we are able to get the majority of Americans vaccinated during the late spring and early summer, "by the time we get to the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so low in society, we can start approaching some form of normality." And for more up-to-date news about the COVID vaccine delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Even after getting vaccinated, however, we'll have to adhere to COVID precautions.
Although a return to some form of normalcy is inevitable once a majority of the population is vaccinated, Fauci has warned people not to throw out their masks just yet. "Until you have virus that is so low in society, we as a nation need to continue to wear the mask, to keep the physical distance, to avoid crowds," Fauci said on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time on Dec. 10. "We're not through with this just because we're starting a vaccine program—even though you as an individual might have gotten vaccinated, it is not over by any means. We still have a long way to go." To see if you're eligible for the vaccine, check out You Can't Get the COVID Vaccine If You're This Age, CDC Says.