‘It’s up to us’: Dr. Fauci says pandemic could possibly end by spring 2022

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The nation’s top infectious disease expert believes the pandemic’s end is near – as long as the U.S. follows the right protocol to contain COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only open if the 80-90 million currently unvaccinated people are convinced to get the shot.

“If we get through the winter, I hope as we get to the spring of 2022, we’ll be there. I hope so. It’s up to us,” Fauci said in an interview with TODAY.

He points to a survey that said 30% of people who are unvaccinated said they would very seriously consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s FDA approved.

This stamp of approval came on Monday, for Pfizer’s vaccine.

Fauci says with this approval, there will also be more enthusiasm for businesses, school districts and governments to enact a vaccine mandate – hopefully getting a lot more people vaccinated.

Pfizer can also now advertise its COVID-19 vaccine, something the company could not do before it was approved by the FDA. Fauci hopes that will help with convincing people to get the shot.

Several places already have vaccine mandates in place. In San Francisco, people must be fully vaccinated to enjoy certain high-contact indoor services, such as restaurants and gyms.

New York City just required all public school staff to be vaccinated – nixing an earlier order which had allowed people to opt to get tested weekly instead. Now, a testing option is off the table, and they must be fully vaccinated.

Just over half of the United States’ eligible population is fully vaccinated at this time, according to the CDC. That’s 171.1 million Americans who are at least 12 years of age and older that are vaccinated.

Prior to the FDA announcement, all three COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – were only approved for emergency use authorization. Moderna and the J&J vaccines are still awaiting full FDA approval.

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