Fauci Defends Shifting Herd Immunity Goal Posts Based On Polling

Tyler Van DykeDecember 28, 20206min

Dr. Anthony Fauci defended comments he made last week when he based the percentage of the population that needed to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity on public polling.

“We have to realize that we have to be humble and realize what we don’t know,” Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union. “These are pure estimates, and the calculations that I made — 70%, 75% — it’s a range. The range is going to be somewhere between 70% and 85%.”

Fauci faced criticism last week after he told the New York Times that he increased the percentage of people that he thought needed to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity after new polls showed people were more willing to get vaccinated.

When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,” Fauci said last week. “Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”

On Sunday, Fauci said a shift from 70% to 85% was “really not a leap,” and he was basing projections on the vaccination rates necessary to achieve herd immunity against measles.

“When you get below 90% of the population vaccinated with measles, you start seeing a breakthrough against herd immunity — people starting to get infected like we saw in the upper New York state and in New York City with the Orthodox Jewish group when we had measles outbreak,” Fauci said. “So I made a calculation that COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is not nearly as transmissible. Measles is the most transmissible. So I imagine you need something less than 90% and where I got to 85%.”

Fauci conceded that his projections were also based “a bit” on polling that showed people’s willingness to get vaccinated but stressed that health experts “have to be humble” about making projections because “nobody knows for sure.”

“I want to encourage the people of the United States and globally to get vaccinated because as many as we possibly get vaccinated, we will get close to herd immunity,” Fauci said. “The bottom line it’s a guesstimate, and I gave a range, and I use discussion like we are having now to encourage people to get to that goal of 75% to 85% of the people vaccinated, and that is where we really want to be.”

Fauci’s comments come as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines continue to be distributed across the country and more than 1.9 million people have received the vaccine, according to Bloomberg. Roughly 230 million people need to be vaccinated in order to reach Fauci’s lower-end estimate of 70% of the population.

Author : Tyler Van Dyke

Source : Washington Examiner : Fauci defends shifting herd immunity goal post based on polling