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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.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Nov 15, 2020 - Health

U.S. surgeon general: "Pandemic fatigue" behind soaring coronavirus cases

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Photo: MichaelL Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

"Pandemic fatigue" is the main reason for the record rises in COVID-19 cases the United States has seen this month, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told NPR in an interview broadcast Saturday.

Why it matters: The U.S. is on track for its worst month of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The latest Johns Hopkins data shows the U.S. broke the world record for the number of new cases again on Friday, with 177,224 people testing positive.

Nov 15, 2020 - World

Mexico tops 1 million coronavirus cases, as death toll nears 100,000

A sign above crowds of people in a street in Mexico City, Mexico, warning to "avoid masses" and keep distance from others during a nationwide, 12-day shopping event that's running through Nov. 20, designed to stimulate the economy. Photo: Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/Getty Images

Mexico surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases and over 98,200 deaths from COVID-19 late Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Driving the news: Mexican health officials have focused on testing the seriously ill and conducted only about 2.5 million COVID-19 tests in total — representing 1.9% of the population, AP reports.