SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The nation’s top infectious disease expert believes the pandemic’s end is near as long as the U.S. follows the right protocols to contain COVID-19.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only open if the country’s 80 million to 90 million unvaccinated people are convinced to get the shot.
“If we get through the winter, I hope as we get to the spring of 2022, we’ll be there. I hope so. It’s up to us,” Fauci said in an interview with TODAY.
He points to a survey that said 30% of people who are unvaccinated said they would very seriously consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s FDA approved.
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This stamp of approval came on Monday for Pfizer’s vaccine.
Fauci said with this approval, there will also be more enthusiasm for businesses, school districts and governments to enact a vaccine mandate, which could mean getting a lot more people vaccinated.
Pfizer can also now advertise its COVID-19 vaccine, something the company could not do before it was approved by the FDA. Fauci hopes that will help to convince more people to get the shot.
Several places already have vaccine mandates in place. In San Francisco, people must be fully vaccinated to enjoy certain high-contact indoor services, such as restaurants and gyms.
New York City just required all public school staff to be vaccinated, nixing an earlier order that had allowed people to opt to get tested weekly instead. Now, a testing option is off the table, and they must be fully vaccinated.
Just over half of the United States’ eligible population is fully vaccinated at this time, according to the CDC. That’s 171.1 million Americans who are at least 12 years of age and older that are vaccinated.
Prior to the FDA announcement, all three COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — were only authorized for emergency use. Moderna and the J&J vaccines are still awaiting full FDA approval.