Fauci: Widespread vaccine likely won't be available until next year

Dr. Anthony Fauci: Amount of doses that will be available in December will not certainly be enough to vaccinate everybody.

Ben Ariel ,

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that experts will know by early December whether a potential coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, but widespread availability will probably not happen until next year.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC, Fauci said, "We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, beginning of December. The amount of doses that will be available in December will not certainly be enough to vaccinate everybody -- you'll have to wait several months into 2021."

He added that the vaccination of a "substantial proportion of the population" so there could be a "significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak" may not be possible until the second or third quarter of 2021.

"What I do foresee is that with a successful vaccine and the continuation of some form of public health measures, as we go and progress through the months of 2021, getting towards the third and fourth quarter, we will see a considerable approach towards some form of normality," said Fauci.

Fauci was pressed on whether he believes US President Donald Trump is correct in saying that the United States is "rounding the corner" in the course of the pandemic and replied he believes this is untrue.

"The data speak for themselves," Fauci said. "Unfortunately, I am sorry to see what I'm viewing from a distance, what I'm seeing in the UK ... after getting hit pretty badly the way we did, you went down to a pretty low level, but now you're starting to escalate in the same manner that we are here.”

The comments came after the United States saw two consecutive days with a record high number of new daily COVID-19 cases.

On Saturday, 88,973 new infections were reported, substantially above the previous day's 79,963.

A total of 8,568,625 cases had been reported in the United States with 224,751 deaths as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

During the second presidential debate last Thursday, Trump said the coronavirus vaccine is “ready” and “going to be announced within weeks.”

When the moderator, Kristen Welker, noted that experts have said it will take months before a vaccine is widely available, Trump said, “I think my timeline is going to be more accurate.”

Trump also commented on his recent tensions with Fauci, after he suggested Fauci was an "idiot" in a phone call with campaign staffers.

Trump downplayed his differences with Fauci but also added, “I think he’s a Democrat, but that’s okay.”