Vaccinating US won't finish until fall, herd immunity could come sooner: Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci talks about the vaccine timeline, the moment he feared for his life and the state he believes could be approaching herd immunity.
12:02 | 01/26/21

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Transcript for Vaccinating US won't finish until fall, herd immunity could come sooner: Fauci
Doctor Anthony found she joins us now thanks so much for your time tonight doctor it course this is the fifth full day of the Biden administration but. There seems to be a common problem that this administration has to contend with this. Essentially spilling over from the previous one many states have complained about a lack or shortage of vaccine doses this weekend ahead of the CDC's said one of the biggest problems right now is I can't tell you how much vaccine we have been if I can't tell it to you that I can't tell to the governor's. What in your online needs to be done to get this right as far as smoothing out the process between the federal government and the states and American arms. You know I think he just said it and in what has happened before. Is that the it was an inconsistent. Partnership. Between the federal government and the states I mean on the one hand you don't want the federal government to do little. But you also don't want to just lead to states on their opponents say. He ego is device is the vaccine go ahead and do what you want. You've got to have a steady flow of material. You've got to have communication. Yet their coordination and cooperation and that's one of the things that right from the beginning president Biden had said. Among many other things that he wants to do. Is strengthen. The synergy in the cooperation collaboration between the federal government. And the states. And that's got to get fixed because you're absolutely right there is some areas of the country where this vaccine. Lying around it is not going into people's arms. And as you know many Americans just wanna know why and are things going to be normal again today the co chaired abiding Kobe task force said he believes it won't be until the fall before everyone who wants a vaccine can get one she's here view as far as timeline and what do you think that life once we have the vaccine for anyone who wants to get it what does America look like are still social distancing and still masts. I think there will be a strong turn towards a degree of normality I don't think it's going to be absolutely. The way it was. Months before we even knew about Covert nineteen I think there will be some public health issues that would need to be addressed. But I don't think it's going to be anything like it is right now. Or a couple of months ago when you essentially had shut down and many aspects of society I think it will gradually get better when you talk about. Vaccine available. For people you got to distinguish. Vaccine available for any kind of a person not necessarily one who's in category one KO one deal when seen but when he gets open. For anybody who feels they would like to get vaccinated. That would at least be able to get it I think that's going to be much sooner than the full. I think it likely will be sometime in April but we'll full will be when you get to the point where everyone will have been vaccinated who wanted it. Now vaccine manufacturer Merck stopped development of both of its Kobe vaccines today citing a lack of immunity to the virus. Does the US government now banking on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which has yet to be approved. And if that can't be distributed in the near future will the timeline that you just mentioned get pushed back even further. I think in Egypt Syria if JNJ the Anderson product that comes through with an efficacy gets good enough. To be able to be in the mix that will be very helpful to get things done even sooner than we thought. But I think when you talk about mode Canada and you talk about spies and the possibility of getting even more from them. I think we can do it without it don't which we believe much welcome to get the Johnson & Johnson product. Now let's talk about these new strains thankfully it appears thus far the more concerning south African strain. He is not in the US given how contagious the new UK strain as some have suggested grocery store trips are much more risky at this point the former head of the CDC's suggested over the weekend the New Yorkers should consider only leaving home for essential activities. Do Americans need to be. China back in that same mindset where we worry in March and try to stay home even more to avoid these new more contagious variance. Well I mean it is estimated. That we will have a dominance of the strain that was first in the UKA. And is now dominate in the UK some estimates of the that some time by the end of march or early April. People who get dominant strain. It is a ballot according to the estimates. Of the people in the UK about twice as transmissible. And maybe even increase in its dearly and service ability. To cause serious disease. What do you have that you obviously need to double down a bit on the public health measures which we should be doing anyway. In other words we should be doing the kinds of things that we've been speaking about. Consistently now for months physical distancing. You reform wearing of masks. Avoiding congregate settings particularly in door is doing things weather permitted as much outdoors as we possibly can. And washing your hands very frequently if everyone you reform we did that. Regardless of the mutant involve we'd be much better off. Some of it suggested that an especially hard hit states like North Dakota to the population may be getting close to your has already reached herd immunity as so many people there have already been infected and there are. As many residents to vaccinated do you think of that's the case that North Dakota or possibly some other states have already reached her immunity. You know I think that they would be approaching a degree of protection from the standpoint. Are already having a lot of people you've got to be careful because herd immunity is not an absolute yes or no. If you have a lot of people who are either vaccinated. Or have already been infected. You can approach herd immunity and get a degree of protection from it as opposed to the absolute. Which we know with some diseases. What that number raise. Almost experience with that. Is with measles we know with a highly contagious measles in a very effective vaccine. 98% effective. We know that when you get below. A search group level. All of immunity in the community that she stuck to lose that protection from herd immunity we don't yet quite know what that number is. For Covert we think it's somewhere around seventy to 85%. But when you get up to 5060%. You're getting close to was it would isn't as if you don't have any effect with that you're starting to get some good thing. So when it's a do you question it could be that given the amount of infection that have occurred there and the fact that they're doing pretty good. On the distribution of vaccine. They may already be approaching. That level of herd immunity even though they're not absolutely there yet. In a wide ranging interview with the New York Times you talked about how in the heart of the pandemic the president asked you to be more positive. Was like that like in the time and how difficult was it for you to feel like you're on the sidelines unable to speak up honestly about what the reality wise. Well I did speak honestly about what the reality was and that likely was one of the things that put me on the sideline. I mean I I was always and it I was not picked it didn't give me any great pleasure in contradicting the president of the United States as I said. You know in that interview that I gave dad I have a great deal of respect for the office of the presidency but there comes a time. When you hear things that are being said that a just not. Reality they're not in accordance what is actually going on it and at that point in order to maintain. My integrity as well as the good of the American public. I had to come forth and say no I'm sorry I disagree with you we will not turning the corner things are not as good as your saying as it is and as you know. When I did that. For one reason or other I was not is able to be public as possible because I was not let out to the press. Biden it will be the seventh president that you've now advise and I do briefly get your thoughts on. This past year your life has personally been threatened during this pandemic and you said. That you opened a letter one point in white powder popped out all over you what happened next in that moment and also he could tell us a bit about the conversation that. You have with your wife about the pros and cons of potentially quitting wants your life in your wife your children's lives from being threatened. You know I think this is the life I'd shows. And this is what I do so as strange as it may seem to people. You know threats on my life son harassment of me. Does not bother me as much at all. As the effect it has on my wife and my children because my wife is being her ask Mike children. My adult daughters. Are getting harassed you know little of the information that's out there on lined everybody knows. Once phone number one's address there's very little you can do about it so I get more concerned. If not outraged. At the impacted as are my children. With regard to what you asked the an ice innocently and probably stupidly opened up an envelope in just pulled out a letter and a powder came all over my face. And all over my my my my chest in my Sherry. Club you know ultimately as I said in the interview. I said world is one of three possibilities here either it's a hoax. Well it's anthrax. Which would mean. And I have to go on super foxes in for about a month or two. Lawrence rice which means I'm a dead duck no matter what I do. You know it was interesting I took a bit of a fatalistic view but that thank goodness. My security detail you know totally don't move stay in the room don't come out goes will be contaminating everything they would get the Hazmat people there. And they did and I had to get you know they sprayed me with my clothes on what might close all of it it was terrible. Did most negative part about their entire experience. Was it frightened the heck out of my children. When they found out about it in my life didn't. So that's the thing get their people don't understand. Get that thing that really bothers me I mean I decided I'm doing something that might be dangerous but Betsy it I chose it. My children did not shows that did not choose that so that's the thing that bothered me the most were. Understandably so Wesley. I like to play a sound bite from your former colleague doctor Deborah birds from over the weekend when asked about what her biggest mistake was this past year. I always feel like I could have done and border and Dan more outspoken. I'm navy been more outspoken public gate publicly I didn't know all the consequences. Of all of these. Issues. If you are able to reflect back on this crazy past year or what would you say would be your biggest mistake or beyond that maybe if you could have a a Mulligan and do something over what would've been. You know very likely it would have been early early on to really try to get as much more information. Well I'll count the fact that this virus can be spread by people without symptoms. And once you know that it can be spread good people that symptoms you don't have to have. A lot of sick people around to you to do some dramatic public health recommendations because you know. In studiously. It is under the radar screen spreading. We did not know that and I wish that I had known it early than I knew it. Because if I did it would've likely been differences and more stringent recommendations. Sure makes a lot of sense doctor Anthony found she thank you as always for your time your knowledge or insight we appreciate it. Good to be with you thank you for having.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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