Fauci: COVID variants and lack of global access to vaccines could be ‘bad news for us’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joins Yahoo News West Coast Correspondent Andrew Romano to discuss whether the U.S. has put the worst of the coronavirus pandemic behind it. Fauci says, “I hope so, and it might be, but I’m not absolutely 100 percent certain,” pointing to global vaccine efforts as necessary to overcoming COVID-19.

Video Transcript

ANDREW ROMANO: With all the usual caveats in place-- we need to keep masking, we need to get vaccinated, we need to take the variants seriously-- do you personally think that the worst of the pandemic here in the US is behind us?

ANTHONY FAUCI: You know, I hope so, and it might be, but I'm not absolutely 100% certain, because there are two aspects of it. We have variants that are already in our own country that we need to outrun the variants by getting people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can, because the most prevalent variant is the UK variant. And that's the one that the vaccine is quite good against-- I mean, really quite good.

So now's the time to really put the pedal to the floor here and just say, let's go get people vaccinated. The other thing is I don't know how much vaccine hesitancy is going to persist. And I don't know how many people are going to say, I don't want to get vaccinated. I tend to think that even though there's a lot of verbal expression of vaccine hesitancy, when people start to see that vaccine becomes available, and a lot of people are getting it, and there are no really bad adverse events, and they're making, actually, the numbers of infections go down, I think there'll be a lot more people who will be willing to get vaccinated.

Yeah, so there's a really good chance that we will do fine, at least in the immediate future. Then there's the broader, long range problem. And that is that the world needs to also get the virus under control, because a global pandemic requires a global response. And if we do really well in our own country, but for a variety of reasons the rest of the world doesn't have access to vaccines, and this virus percolates throughout the world, sooner or later you'll get variants that sooner or later will arrive in our country that sooner or later will make things back to bad news for us.