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Dr. Fauci Says Worry About This, Not Herd Immunity

If we all did this, there would be a veil of protection, he says.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Since the start of the pandemic, the concept of herd immunity has been a major part of the COVID-19 conversation. However, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we need to shift our focus off of it and onto another more important thing. During an interview with MSNBC, he explained why. Read on to find out what Dr. Fauci thinks we need to worry about—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 98 Symptoms To Watch For Even After Vaccination.

Don't Focus on Herd Immunity, Said Dr. Fauci. Focus on Vaccinations.

When asked about herd immunity, Dr. Fauci surprisingly revealed that he doesn't believe herd immunity is crucial. "I think we should just forget about that," he told Nicolle Wallace. "I have been encouraging people of late to really not focus on that elusive terminology." 

He continued to explain the concept of herd immunity: "When you get a number of people vaccinated, plus the people who have been infected, recovered, and are now protected that you get so many of them that you get a veil or a blanket of protection. When the virus gets into the society, it has no place to go. It has no place to infect anybody. There are still people who are vulnerable, but it's very difficult for the virus to find them. That's what herd immunity is. The herd immunity threshold is a percentage of what percentage of the population needs to be protected in order to get this blanket of full protection."

While herd immunity is desirable, the main issue in making it a priority is that we don't really know how many people would have to be vaccinated to achieve it in terms of COVID-19. "We know what it is for measles. Of course, we've been dealing with measles for decades and decades." 

Instead, we should prioritize vaccination in general. "Rather than focusing on this elusive threshold of herd immunity, what we've been saying and what president Biden said this afternoon was let's aim for 70% of the population to get at least one dose by the 4th of July. That is a doable goal. It's challenging. It's not going to be easy, but we can do it," he said.  "Let's get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. And the one thing that I will guarantee—because we know this as a fact, not as a hypothesis, but as a fact— that the more people you get vaccinated, the more and more the infection rate is going to go down. We've seen that with other infections. And we've seen that with other countries," he added, referencing Israel as an example, where "as the vaccination numbers went up, the infections came right down. So that's what we want to do. We want to do as many people vaccinated as we possibly can and not focus on an elusive number that nobody even knows what that number is." 

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How to Stay Safe During the Rest of This Pandemic

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, 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 about Alek