200721 Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Image Credit: AFP

There’s still no let-up in the pandemic, with cases spiking worldwide. As of October 3, 2020, SARS-CoV-2 had already infected 34.7 million people, and left 1.03 million dead, according to the latest Johns Hopkins University tally. After weeks of what appeared to be a decline in COVID-19 cases in many countries, there’s been a notable uptrend, especially in the US and India, two of the world's most populous countries.

But there’s good news, says Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease official in the US. In an interview with the respected tech magazine Wired, published on September 30, 2020, Dr Fauci said the words the world had been wanting to hear. As head of the US National Institute Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the 79-year-old immunologist has advised numerous presidents since he was appointed to the post in 1984.


"This outbreak will end,” Dr Fauci told Steven Levy, Wired editor-at-large. “We will get a vaccine,” he added, while talking about the COVID shot. “And then, if we combine a vaccine with prudent public health measures, we can put this outbreak behind us.”

We will get a vaccine. And then, if we combine a vaccine with prudent public health measures, we can put this outbreak behind us.

- Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute Allergies and Infectious Diseases

The Pew Research Center results of a poll on September 17 poll, which found that 77 percent of Americans believe a vaccine would be approved before it could be proven safe and effective. Levy told Fauci that he's among the majority of Americans who are suspicious that a vaccine might be rushed before the November election.

Vaccine fears

Moreover, 78 percent believe the process is "moving too quickly". As a result, only 21 percent of American adults surveyed said they “definitely” plan to get the vaccine — a big drop from May 2020 when 42 percent said they would get vaccinated.

"The fear is understandable," said Dr Fauci, "but if I give you the facts, I hope that you would see it's not reasonable.” Fauci adding he has "full confidence" in the vaccine vetting process. "The way the system is set up, there [are] independent bodies that have access to the data that no one else has access to. And they make the decision based on the scientific data, whether the vaccine is safe and effective," he said.

This Data and Safety Monitoring Board, made up of clinicians, vaccinologists, statisticians, and ethicists, are "the only ones…who intermittently look at the data and they can come to any of a number of conclusions.” He told Wired: “It is likely that we will know whether we have a safe and effective vaccine somewhere around November and December.” He added there will be about 100 million doses by the end of the year for those who need it most, and up to 700 million doses by the end of April 2021 for the rest of the population. There are at least five vaccines now in the final stage of trials.