US expert Dr Anthony Fauci claims coronavirus vaccine could be declared safe by December

Luke O'Reilly
·2-min read

US medical chief Dr Anthony Fauci has claimed that scientists will know if a coronavirus vaccine is effective by the end of November.

However, he warned that a substantial portion of the population will not be vaccinated until the second half of 2021.

Dr Fauci is the director of the US's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been front and centre of the country's response to Covid-19.

His warnings over the continued dangers posed by the outbreak have led to attacks from President Donald Trump, who has tried to project a rosier outlook on the pandemic as the US election draws near.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Dr Fauci said that whether a vaccine is safe will be known in just over a month's time.

A vaccine could be confirmed as safe by late November/early December (REUTERS)
A vaccine could be confirmed as safe by late November/early December (REUTERS)

"We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December," Dr Fauci told Mr Marr.

"When you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be until the second or third quarter of the year."

Dr Fauci warned that rolling out the vaccine will take months.

“I think when we get a vaccine, and we start getting people vaccinated … over a period of several months into 2021, we will begin to approach some form of normality, depending upon how many people, what proportion of the people take the vaccine."

Dr Fauci, who led US's response the Aids epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, said that other measures will need to be combined with a vaccine to successfully deal with coronavirus.

“That should be combined with some degree of public health measures", he said.

“I don’t think that a vaccine alone right off will get us back to normality.

“What I do foresee is that with a successful vaccine, and the continuation of some form of public health measures, as we go and progress through the months of 2021, getting towards the third and fourth quarter, we will see a considerable approach towards some form of normality.”

He also spoke of concerns about anti-vaccine beliefs when asked how important it was politicians set an example and “follow the science”.

Dr Fauci said: “It’s very important”, adding: “People look at what their leaders say and do, and you can positively or negatively influence behaviour.

“One of the things I’m concerned about in the United States is that part of the anti science translates maybe into anti vaccine.

“It would really be a shame if we have a safe and effective vaccine, but a substantial proportion of the people do not want to take the vaccine because they don’t trust authority.

“That would really be unfortunate if that’s the case.”

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