The "CBS Evening News" spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday for the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit. Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, said the country is in "for some significant pain and suffering the next couple of months" before a vaccine has an impact on the spread of.
Vaccines are being called "the light at the end of the tunnel" by Fauci and other health experts. Here are our top takeaways from the interview:
1. If 75-85% of people in the United States get vaccinated, the coronavirus outbreak will be over before the end of 2021.
Fauci said the U.S. has the capability to "crush" the outbreak before the end of 2021 by getting three-quarters of Americans vaccinated next year. In the meantime, he encourages Americans to commit to public health measures like wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and keeping physical distance. Fauci says if the U.S. pulls "together as we get the vaccine rolled out, we should be okay but it's not going to happen spontaneously."
2. People who have already been infected with coronavirus should get the vaccine.
One of the most common questions from viewers is whether or not those who have already had COVID-19 should get the vaccine. Fauci said yes: "Once you get infected with the virus, it isn't certain how long that protection would [last] or whether or not you mounted good protection."
3. The coronavirus vaccine will likely not be similar to the annual flu shot.
At this point, we are accustomed to getting a flu shot every year, but will we be required to get a Coronavirus vaccine annually? Fauci said it's still unclear exactly how often we will need to get a booster but that he's "not so sure it will be every year, but I would be surprised if it gave life long immunity." That means, "we likely would have to get boosted. What interval of those boosts are, I don't know right now," he said.
4. When FDA career scientists say the vaccine is safe, Fauci will recommend the vaccine to friends, family, and former presidents.
President-elect Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama said they will get the vaccine when Fauci said it is safe. He said when "the F.D.A. with their career scientists say it is safe and effective, I will take it myself when my time comes and I will recommend it to all people...because I would feel comfortable taking it." When we asked Fauci if he'd be willing to get the vaccine on television, he said "I'd be more than happy to do it publicly."
5. States and local authorities are responsible for vaccine distribution, once the transportation is completed by the federal government.
Fauci said he is "pretty confident" the U.S. has the personnel and supplies to successfully implement the most ambitious vaccination project ever undertaken. While Operation Warp Speed is responsible for the actual transportation of the vaccine, states and local health authorities. "Each individual city, state, public health authority have their own plan about how they are going to distribute it," he says.