Healthcare workers administer Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines at a vaccination site in a church in the Bronx, New York on Friday, February 5, 2021.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Joe Biden will not commit to achieving herd immunity to the coronavirus in the US by the end of the summer, which points to a long road ahead in combating the deadly virus.
“The idea that this can be done and that we can get herd immunity much before the end of this summer is very difficult,” the Democrat said in an interview that aired on CBS the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
The comment came in response to nudge from journalist Norah O’Donnell, who said that at the current rate of approximately 1.3 million doses administered per day, it would take nearly a year to vaccinate enough Americans to establish herd immunity to reach.
The White House has set a goal of at least 100 million doses in Biden’s first 100 days, although the pace of vaccinations is currently faster. Biden appeared to hit his target late last month by saying he believed the US could deliver up to 1.5 million doses a day.
Biden’s cautious remarks are in line with warnings from scientists and public health officials as well as his earlier statements. They mark a reversal of the approach taken by Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who often claimed that the end of the pandemic was just around the corner.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading epidemiologist, said that at least 75% of the public would need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to achieve herd immunity. He predicted a return to normal next fall.
Biden also said during the interview that he is exploring new ways to vaccinate more Americans faster.
He said he supported a proposal by the National Football League to use its 30 stadiums as mass vaccination centers, but did not stick to the plan.
“I’m telling my team they’re available and I think we’ll be using them,” said Biden.
The virus has killed more than 460,000 people and infected nearly 27 million in the United States.
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