Fauci warns against public skepticism about coronavirus vaccine

As drug makers work on developing vaccines against the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed the importance of overcoming public skepticism toward inoculations using a campaign of community engagement and outreach, according to a report.

“If we get a widespread uptake of vaccine, we can put an end to the pandemic and we can create a veil of immunity that would prevent the infection coming back,” the top infectious diseases expert said on CNN on Monday.

“You have to do it by extending yourself to the community, not by a dictum from Washington,” added Fauci, a member of the White House pandemic task force.

Fauci is the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is working with Moderna on a vaccine.

On Monday, the Cambridge, Mass.-based drug maker began the final round of clinical trials, making it the first candidate to enter a crucial stage of research in the US.

The company’s Phase 3 trial will test its experimental inoculation in about 30,000 people at nearly 100 research sites across the country to evaluate whether it can safely and effectively prevent COVID-19 infections.

Fauci called it “crunch time” for vaccine development, adding that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the progress.

“We’re trying to figure out does it actually work,” he said on CNN.

It will “take several months to determine if in fact (the vaccine) does work,” Fauci added. “To go from not even knowing what the virus was in early January to a Phase 3 trial is really record time.”

Meanwhile, the doctor also told CNN that he may have been exposed to the virus.

He said he was in the same room as national security adviser Robert O’Brien “a week or two ago.”

O’Brien, who has tested positive for the illness, has said he is experiencing “mild symptoms” and is “self-isolating” as he works from home.

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