Aug 8, 2020 - Health

Fauci: "Not great" chances that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective


Anthony Fauci. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that the chances of a coronavirus vaccine having 98% or more guaranteed protection are "not great," per CNBC.

Yes, but: The Food and Drug Administration says it's prepared to authorize a coronavirus vaccine so long as it's safe and reduces a person’s risk of a COVID-19 infection by 50%.

  • FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn argues that while a higher benchmark would be ideal, 50% guaranteed protection is an acceptable standard, given the circumstances.
  • "For the most part, I think, infectious disease experts have agreed that that’s a reasonable floor, of course hoping that the actual effectiveness will be higher," Hahn said in July.

What he's saying: Fauci told attendees at Brown University's School of Public Health during a Q&A session that, "The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach."

  • “We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50% or 60%. I’d like it to be 75% or more."
  • "You’ve got to think of the vaccine as a tool to be able to get the pandemic to no longer be a pandemic, but to be something that’s well controlled," he added.
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