WASHINGTON (SBG) - Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that we should not focus on the “elusive number of herd immunity,” but instead focus on vaccinating as many people as possible.
“The vaccine does a great job of keeping people from getting severely ill, so if we can prevent most of the people who would end up in the hospital and die from having that happen to them by giving them a vaccine, then the whole situation changes,” said Dr. Tara Kirk Sell of Johns Hopkins University to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “While herd immunity would be great, there's a lot to be gained from just vaccinating as many people as we can.”
With President Joe Biden projecting to reach his goal of 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations within the next ten days, there is still a lot of hesitancy among Americans on receiving the vaccine.
“I think that it’s reasonable that people might have questions about the vaccine,” said Dr. Sell. “We need to have the resources out there to help them answer those questions, the people that they trust to help them make those choices. But I think vaccine hesitancy is one of the biggest things that’s between where we are now and getting back to a normal life.”
Italy and France are facing new lockdown restrictions as COVID cases spike across Europe.
“Europe is a really sobering example of why we need to continue to do our best to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially as we see these new variants of the disease circulate,” said Dr. Sell. “I do worry that there could be another wave fueled by new COVID variants, and that's something that I'm pretty concerned about.”
A number of European countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain, have suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of blood clots. The European Medicines Agency has said that data so far showed that the number of blood clots in those vaccinated is no higher than that seen among the general population.
“I think this pause really just shows how seriously people take vaccine safety, and it's really just to be sure that nothing's going on,” said Dr. Sell. “While vaccines are great, they don't protect you from every terrible thing that life throws at you. So while it might look like it's related because it happens close in time, it might not actually be caused by the vaccine.”