Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, said that herd immunity in the U.S. could be reached if up to 90 percent of Americans receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking to The New York Times on Thursday, Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But I’m not going to say 90 percent.”
He added, “We need to have some humility here.”
Earlier in the pandemic, Fauci suggested that a smaller percentage of Americans would have to receive a vaccine to reach herd immunity, a term used to describe widespread protection from the coronavirus across the country.
As the Times noted, Fauci previously said that “70, 75 percent” of the population would need to be vaccinated for the U.S. to attain herd immunity, but last week he suggested a higher percentage was needed.
“If you really want true herd immunity, where you get a blanket of protection over the country…you want about 75 to 85 percent of the country to get vaccinated,” Fauci told Vox’s Today, Explained podcast on December 15. “I would say even closer to 85 percent.”