Dr. Eric Topol, the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said in an interview published Sunday that up to 90% of Americans may have to be vaccinated to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now we need 85 to 95% vaccinated against Delta,” he told USA Today.
Tom McCarthy, the head of the Rhode Island Department of Health COVID Response Unit, also put the number at about 90%, citing the Delta variant, the paper reported.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The New York Times in an interview published in December said that between 70% and 90% of the U.S. population would need to get inoculated (or vaccinated) against COVID-19 in order for the country to reach herd immunity.
“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 said at the time.
Herd immunity is when a large percentage of a specific population becomes immune to a virus; immunity can happen naturally or by way of vaccines to prevent viral infections like the flu and COVID-19.
About 56 percent of the U.S., or 185 million are considered to be fully vaccinated.
“We have to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time,” Fauci said.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report