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Dr. Fauci Says You Might Still Carry COVID After Getting Vaccine

“We do not know the duration of the durability of protection from yourself to get reinfected as well as spreading to others.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The "light at the end of the tunnel" is here—the COVID-19 vaccine. And with it, a chance for us all to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic. However, there is still a lot to learn about how the vaccine will work. Besides the distribution snafus, causing chaos from state to state, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted this morning that scientists are still learning how protective antibodies really are. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said You Can Still Carry the Virus After Getting Vaccinated

"I do want to ask you about this new study overseas, this study of British healthcare workers," said Today anchor Craig Melvin. "And it found that folks with antibodies could still carry and spread the virus. How worried should we be about our friends and family members who've already had COVID-19?"

"Well, one of the things that we don't have enough information about, and we have to be humble and modest enough to, to really recognize it, admit that we do not know the duration of the durability of protection from yourself to get reinfected as well as spreading to others," answered Fauci. "We've gotta be able to, and we are doing studies to answer those kinds of questions."

The CDC said something similar: "Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19."

Fauci, for his part, has long said we'd still need to abide by public health measures even after getting vaccinated, just in case. "Obviously, with a 90-plus percent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident" that you won't get COVID-19, Fauci told CNN. "But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated….even though, for the general population, it might be 90 to 95% effective," said Fauci, "you don't necessarily know, for you, how effective it is." 

After all, 90 to 95%—"That's not 100%," Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and a member of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory board, told NPR. "That means one out of every 20 people who get this vaccine could still get moderate to severe infection."

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

Dr. Fauci Said We Could Approach "Normality" By Fall

Melvin also asked Fauci if he felt it was possible to administer 100 million vaccines in 100 days, a cornerstone of Biden's first days in office. "You know, I really do think so," said Fauci. "I mean, we've discussed this with the Biden team, and we think it's quite feasible that we can do that right now. Even now we've gone from a half a million a day to 750,000 a day. I believe strongly that it's doable."

If we keep apace, we could be back to normal before the end of the year. "If we do it, stay on target to get the overwhelming majority of the country vaccinated—I have used that determination—I believe it's close to accurate. If not accurate—we have no way of knowing at this point that if we get about 70% to 85% of the people in the country vaccinated, we likely will get to that umbrella of herd immunity that you'll start to see a serious turnaround of infection so people can feel."

"And I think it is possible after several months of doing this," he continued, "that we can start to approaching some form of normality, but it's really going to be dependent on the uptake of vaccines, which is the reason why we continually reach out to people to say, please, when vaccine becomes available, get vaccinated because we really want the overwhelming majority of the country to be vaccinated."

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

How to Survive—and Help End—This Pandemic

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more