Dr. Fauci: More Coordination on COVID Vaccines Coming With Biden Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 15 January 2021 10:24 AM
There will be a "greater degree of coordination" between the federal government and states with the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination rollout once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will be advising him, said Friday.
"There are a lot of things that could be done," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's "Today," while commenting on the slower-than-expected vaccine rollout. "You don't want the federal government to take all the responsibility of doing this. You don't want the states to be left on their own. You've got to have a good degree of interaction."
Part of the slowdown, he said, is that the CDC had never meant that states should be "rigidly adhering" to prioritization groups.
"In fact, they came out yesterday and the day before saying quite clearly, we didn't mean it to be a rigid adherence," said Fauci. "As we open things up now, and I don't mean necessarily completely opening up the floodgates, but when you add a degree of flexibility, try not to get any doses that are just sitting there in the freezer or just sitting there in a refrigerator, getting ready to go. If you have a dose, give it. "
Fauci also said he does think 100 million doses of the vaccine can be administered in 100 days, as Biden has promised, and that the rollout can help achieve a goal of herd immunity in the United States.
"If we get about 70% to 85% of the people in the country vaccinated, we likely will get to that umbrella of herd immunity," said Fauci. "You'll start to see a serious turnaround of infections, so people can feel, and I think it is possible, after several months of doing this, that we can start approaching some form of normality."
Fauci also discussed a new study of British healthcare workers that showed that people with COVID-19 antibodies can still carry and spread the disease.
"We do not know the duration of the durability of protection from yourself to get reinfected, as well as spreading to others," said Fauci. "We've got to be able to, and we are, doing studies to answer those kinds of questions."