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Fauci: Don’t see US mandating COVID-19 vax for general public

August 18, 2020

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Tuesday he doesn’t see the U.S. mandating a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see a mandating of vaccine particularly for the general public,” Fauci said during a livestreamed interview with Healthline.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that some workplaces, particularly those in health care fields, might prevent employees from coming to work or interacting with patients if they haven’t been vaccinated for the flu. 

Schools generally require students be vaccinated for measles and other infectious diseases before they are allowed to attend classes. 

But Fauci said he’d “be pretty surprised if you mandated it for any element of the general public.”

There are several vaccine candidates in clinical trials, and some look promising at providing a level of protection against COVID-19. 

While no vaccine has been approved yet by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), experts are already grappling with how to convince the American public to get vaccinated.

Vaccine hesitancy has been a public health issue for several years now, especially among parents of young children.  

A Gallup poll released earlier this month found 1 in 3 Americans would not get a COVID-19 vaccine available today if it were free and approved by the FDA. 

Sixty-seven percent of white Americans said they would get the vaccine, compared to 59 percent of nonwhite Americans. People who lived in rural areas were less likely to say they would get vaccinated than people who lived in small towns, suburbs or large cities. 

Asked what the U.S. could do about people who refuse to get vaccinated, Fauci replied: “They have the right to refuse a vaccine. I don’t think you need a contingency plan. If someone refuses the vaccine in the general public, then there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot force someone to take a vaccine.”

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