Dr. Fauci Says These People Will Be Able to Get Vaccinated "Quite Soon"

This is who should be next in line for their COVID shot.

Every state in the U.S. is in a different place when it comes to who they're vaccinating—in some cases, it's based on age; in others, it comes down to where you work. But this week, Anthony Fauci, MD, had some good news about prioritizing the vaccine for Americans with medical conditions who are waiting their turn anxiously. In a Feb. 2 appearance on CNN Tonight with host Don Lemon, the White House chief medical adviser was asked when adults with underlying health conditions could expect to be vaccinated—this group, it should be noted, accounts for 60 percent of the population, according to Heathline.

Fauci had a plain message for anyone who fell into this demographic, suggesting that they are the next priority. "We're talking about the next level of people 16-64 who have underlying conditions, [they] are going to be the next group that are going to be on the line for the queue of getting vaccinated," he told Lemon. "That should be quite soon." Read on for more from Fauci on who's falling behind with vaccinations, and for more vaccine news, check out Dr. Fauci Says He Had These Side Effects From His Second Vaccine Dose.

Black Americans are still not getting vaccinated quickly enough.

Senior male doctor vaccinates a young man in a doctor's office
iStock

Lemon asked Fauci about reports showing that in all 16 states that have released vaccine data based on race, Black citizens are being vaccinated at significantly lower rates than their white counterparts. The most pronounced disparity is in Pennsylvania, where 1.2 percent of white citizens have been vaccinated, against 0.3 percent of Black residents. "Two things that we need to address, Don," Fauci said. The first being, "increase their accessibility to vaccines by getting out into the communities where they are and for those who want to get vaccinated, to make it easy for them to get vaccinated." And for more regular COVID updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.

And that's largely because of a lack of trust.

young male doctor giving young female patient covid vaccine
Shutterstock

Fauci went on to explain that access to vaccinations was only half the battle–winning hearts and minds was equally important across minority communities. "The other thing we've got to address is the issue of vaccine hesitancy. Because Brown and Black people, particularly African Americans, have an understandable hesitancy that relates historically to decades ago, before many of them were even born, with the infamous Tuskegee incident, which gets passed from generation to generation about not trusting the federal government's medical programs," Fauci said. "And I think the way we get beyond that hesitancy is to respect the reasons why they are hesitant and then get beyond that with them, by explaining that the safeguards that have been put in place since then make it virtually impossible for those types of violations to occur in today's world. And then to go with them and explain to them why it's safe and effective and why it's important for them and their families and their community to get vaccinated." And for insight into where you could get your vaccine, check out If You Live in These States, You Can Get Vaccinated at Walgreens Next Week.

Black and Latinx people are dying at a much faster rate from COVID.

Sick man with face mask looking out the window being quarantined at home.
GraphicPhotoArt -MomPhoto / Shutterstock

The fact is, as Fauci said, minority communities "are the ones who are getting sick and they are the ones that are dying more than others." According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black and Latinx Americans are about four times more likely to be hospitalized due to the COVID and three times more likely to die as a result of the virus than white Americans.

"If you look at the rate of hospitalizations per thousand people in the population, it's multifold difference between African-Americans, Latinx, and whites," Fauci added. "I mean, you can't run away from the data. And then it gets translated into more deaths, which are a couple of fold more. So, sickness, illness, hospitalization, and deaths, whatever we can do, Don, to address that, to mitigate that, we should do, whether it's reaching out to them, getting them vaccinated, getting them vaccinated quickly, we're all for that." And for more vaccine news, check out why You May Soon Need a COVID Vaccine to Do This One Thing, Officials Say.

If we think collectively, Fauci says the end is in sight

People eating in restaurant together
Shutterstock

The number one thing on all Americans' minds is when we can return to normal. While Fauci assured Lemon he was hopeful it was possible, it's going to take a lot of effort as a society to reach that point.

"It's going to be a cohort effect," Fauci said. "What I mean by that is you can't look at yourself in a vacuum… 'normal' is a societal thing. So if you want our society to get back to normal you have to get about 70 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated. So if you do that… you can get people protected and get an umbrella of what we call 'herd immunity,' then the level of infection is going to go very, very low down in the community and society and at that point the entire community can start getting back to normal. Maybe not 100 percent back to normal, but at least approaching normal. I think if we do it right, if we really efficiently get people vaccinated—we can do that by the end of summer, beginning of the fall." And for more on what's potentially stopping that, see why Dr. Fauci Says This One Thing Could Stop Us From Getting Back to Normal.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
Filed Under