Dr. Anthony Fauci is under fire for remarks he made in an interview with the New York Times last week in which he admitted he was less than honest with the American people regarding the number of Americans that needed to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity.
Talking with the Times, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases admitted that he originally said 60-70% of Americans would need a vaccine, only to later increase that number to 90% at least partially based on public polling data.
"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. "Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ʻI can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85."
Fauci admitted that"we don't really know what the real number is," before eventually guessing somewhere in the range of 70-90%.
The key figure on President Trump's coronavirus response team told CNN's "State of the Union" program that his calculations were not intentionally deceptive, but rather an estimate extrapolated from measles numbers.
"When you get below 90 percent of the population vaccinated with measles, you start seeing a breakthrough against the herd immunity," Fauci said. "So, I made a calculation that COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is not as nearly as transmissible as measles. Measles is the most transmissible infection you can imagine. So, I would imagine that you would need something a little bit less than the 90 percent. That's where I got to the 85."
In the end, Fauci reiterated his desire that as many people as possible get vaccinated.