In an interview with Yahoo News National Correspondent Alexander Nazaryan, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that even with a vaccine rollout beginning later this year, he hopes Americans can gather safely for the spring holidays, but it’s “unrealistic” to think Easter and Passover celebrations will be completely back to normal.
ALEXANDER NAZARYAN: Let me ask you about Easter and Passover. Do you think we'll be able to gather safely with our friends and family by then?
ANTHONY FAUCI: You know, I hope so, if not completely back to normal. I don't think it will be by the spring. I think that would be unrealistic. Because if you're going to have the start of the rollout of the vaccine in mid to late December for those at the high priority groups, by the time you get the high priority individuals done, you're going to be well into the first quarter of 2021.
We hope that by the end of the first quarter, end of April into May and June, that we will get a substantial proportion of the people vaccinated. But one of the things you need to make sure you understand, you and us as a community being the US public, is that even though we have at least at this point and maybe more two highly efficacious vaccines, getting back to normal is also going to depend on what proportion of the population actually gets the vaccine.
So if you have a highly efficacious vaccine, which we do have, however, let's say 50% of the people want it, and 50% don't, you're going to stretch out the length of time that it's going to take to get back to normal.
So that's the reason why I have spoken and written that a vaccine itself even though it's highly efficacious does not mean you can abandon public health measures like mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, keeping distance. You may have a less stringent implementation of those that would be required because vaccine would be an extraordinary addition to your armamentarium of safety measures.
But unless you get 75%, 80% or whatever it is, between 70% and 80% of the population vaccinated, you're not going to get the blanket or the umbrella of immunity over the community that would make you feel that you're almost getting back to normal, which is one of the reason why we have to be very transparent in our-- our articulation to the community of-- of why and how the decision of whether or not these vaccines are safe and effective has been made independently apart from any influence by the administration, by the companies, by anyone. But it also has been not only an independent process but a very transparent process.
So our job now in addition to getting those other vaccine candidates to be proven to be safe and effective, which I hope they will be, is to convince the American public that the process is going to be quite transparent and quite independent.