Dr. Anthony Fauci says a coronavirus vaccine may be coming in 2021

The nation's lead spokesman on the coronavirus says the virus vaccine has been fast-tracked and likely will happen in the next year

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 31: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump administration officials are set to defend the federal government’s response to the coronavirus crisis at the hearing hosted by a House panel calling for a national plan to contain the virus. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

The nation’s lead infectious disease expert testified before the House committee on the coronavirus today and says that there may be a vaccine for COVID-19 as early as 2021.

According to CBS, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “I think it will occur,” and “within a reasonable period of time.”

Despite the speed of the process, he believes it will pass medical muster. However, he cautions that it will take some time before it can be distributed en masse.

 Fauci thegrio.com
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, speaks as Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, left, listen during a news conference with members of the Coronavirus task force at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Friday, June 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

$8 billion has been distributed by the federal government to biotech companies to develop a coronavirus vaccine, including the French company Sanofi and the British company GlaxoSmithKline, among others. China and Russia are working on a vaccine.

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Fauci testified along with Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Admiral Brett Giroir, the Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. All of them emphasized a need to have a comprehensive plan as cases surge around the country.

House Select Subcommittee On Coronavirus Crisis Holds Hearing On Urgent Need For A National Plan
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 31: Dr. Anthony Fauci (C), director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Robert Redfield (R), director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Health, testifies before the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Fauci said that one of the reasons why the U.S. has struggled to contain the virus while other countries have done better is that places like Europe shut down their economic systems by 95%. The U.S. response was to shut down just 50%.

The health experts agreed that the scattershot response hurt the mitigation of the virus which was particularly deadly in places where people are forced into close proximity – jails, assembly line workplaces, and nursing homes, according to published reports.

Fauci got into a tense exchange with Ohio congressman Jim Jordan who asked him if protests were spreading the virus and if he would recommend putting a stop to them. Fauci said that while he believed being outside in large crowds, especially without a mask leads to virus spread, it wasn’t his call to determine whether lawful protests should be curtailed.

“Any crowd, whether it’s a protest — any crowd of people close together without masks is a risk. And I’ll stick by that statement. It’s a public health statement. It’s not a judgment,” Fauci said as Jordan pressed him for a more definitive answer.

As summer moves into fall, the experts recommend Americans get a flu shot this year as even they don’t know the impact of the coronavirus once it’s combined with the annual flu season.

Read More: Blacks more likely to be impacted financially by COVID-19 pandemic

“While it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time,” they said in prepared written remarks released prior to the hearing.

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