Fauci says ‘virtually everybody’ will be eligible for vaccine by April

Speaking to NBC’s 'Today Show,' Fauci, who serves as science adviser to President Joe Biden, says the rate of vaccinations will greatly accelerate in the coming months

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Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts by April it will be “open season” for vaccinations in the U.S., as supply boosts allow most people to get shots to protect against COVID-19.

Speaking to NBC’s “Today Show,” Fauci, who serves as science adviser to President Joe Biden, says the rate of vaccinations will greatly accelerate in the coming months. He credits forthcoming deliveries of the two approved vaccines, the potential approval of a third and moves taken by the Biden administration to increase the nation’s capacity to deliver doses.

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He says, “by the time we get to April,” it will be “open season, namely virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.”

He cautioned it will take “several more months” to logistically deliver injections to adult Americans but predicted herd immunity could be achieved by late summer.

Dr. Fauci And HHS Sec. Azar Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations During NIH Vaccine Kick-Off Event
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)

Where the last administration addressed the pandemic with the vernacular of a natural disaster — using the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mantra of a “federally supported, state managed and locally executed” response — Biden’s team is borrowing from the Pentagon and the doctrine of overwhelming force.

“We’re at war with this virus,” COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said in an interview with The Associated Press between Sunday morning meetings on the response. “We’re taking every resource and tool the federal government has to battle on every front.”

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It’s a strategy facing urgent tests after Biden inherited an inconsistent vaccine distribution plan and with the emerging threats from new virus variants.

The goal, Biden aides say, is as simple as it is ambitious: After a year of being on defense they want to take the fight to the virus — to “overwhelm the problem,” a kind of mantra for the team.

New virus cases, which had been at historic highs following the holiday season, have steadily declined over Biden’s early weeks in office, but still remain worrisomely elevated, and lives are still being lost at a rate of about 21,000 per week.

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