Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gives an opening statement during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the on-going federal response to COVID-19, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 11, 2021.
Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters
White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hopes the U.S. will have some control over Covid-19 by the spring.
“If we can get through this winter and get the majority, the overwhelming majority of people who have not been vaccinated vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022,” Fauci said during an interview on CNN on “Anderson Cooper 360.”
Many scientists now predict that Covid will continue circulating around the world for foreseeable future, requiring nations to reinstitute public health measures on an ad hoc basis.
U.S. health officials maintain that vaccinations are the nation’s best hope to dramatically reduce the number of new cases and bring an end to the pandemic. As of Monday, more than 171 million Americans, or 51.5% of the total U.S. population, are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As we get into the spring, we could start getting back to a degree of normality, namely resuming the things that we were hoping we could do, restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing,” Fauci told CNN.
That prediction comes with a big caveat, he said, noting that U.S. officials originally thought Covid would be fairly well contained by the Fourth of July before the delta variant emerged and derailed those projections.
“If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things,” he said.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine – becoming the first in the U.S. to win the coveted designation.
U.S. officials and health experts hope full approval will convince some unvaccinated Americans that the shots are safe. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 3 in 10 unvaccinated adults said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if one of the vaccines receives full approval.
In a separate interview Tuesday on NBC’s “Today Show,” Fauci said there will also be much more ‘enthusiasm” about mandating the vaccine, spurring a rise in the rate of vaccinations.
Shortly after the FDA granted approval, New York City officials said they would require all 148,000 public school faculty and staff to get their Covid-19 vaccine shots this fall. They had previously said employees could avoid the vaccines if they submitted to regular weekly Covid testing.
The Pentagon said that it will require service members to receive the Pfizer vaccine now that it has received full approval.
Under full approval, the companies can now advertise the vaccine on TV and other media platforms, which may also help with vaccinations, Fauci said.
“They’ll be a lot more advertisement out there, which were you were not allowed to do unless you did get full approval,” he said.