Dr. Fauci on Whether a Vaccine by Election Day Is 'Realistic'

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Posted: Sep 08, 2020 4:30 PM
Dr. Fauci on Whether a Vaccine by Election Day Is 'Realistic'

Source: Erin Scott/Pool via AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci told PBS's Judy Woodruff that he's "cautiously optimistic" that we'll have a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020.

"By November, December, we will know whether we have a safe and effective vaccine," he said. "I feel cautiously optimistic, given the preliminary data that we've seen."

There are six or seven candidates in development, he explained, with three already in Phase 3 trials, meaning they will enroll tens of thousands of volunteers for "prime and boost" doses. By the end of September, he expects the trials to be fully reenrolled. A couple of other candidates will go into Phase 3 trial at the end of September and into October. With so many potentials, Fauci is right to be optimistic.

But Woodruff pushed Fauci on whether it's realistic to say we're going have a vaccine by November 3, as President Trump has suggested. 

"It's not impossible, Judy," he said. "But it's unlikely that we'll have a definitive answer by that time."

The only scenario in which Fauci sees a vaccine by Election Day, he explained, is if there are so many infections in the clinical trial sites that they get an efficacy answer sooner than they would have projected. 

Once we do get a vaccine, the next step would be convincing Americans to take it. Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is not helping that case, telling the press last week that she would not trust a vaccine that is developed under President Trump's watch. At his own press conference on Tuesday, Trump accused the Biden-Harris ticket of undermining science.