Dr. Fauci, Virginia health leaders discuss COVID-19 vaccine in virtual town hall

Virginia News

FILE – In this May 11, 2021 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, on Capitol Hill in Washington.(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Dr. Anthony Fauci joined Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and other Virginia health leaders Tuesday night to discuss the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, and what challenges may lie ahead in the fight against the virus.

The live-streamed event started at 6 p.m. and was sponsored by 10 organizations in the state.

Fauci spent the first thirty minutes of the town hall answering questions including the vaccine’s efficacy against the delta variant. He said data shows vaccines are 80% effective against symptomatic infection, but more data is needed when it comes to people who are asymptomatically infected.

Fauci also said health leaders are looking into boosters “very soon” for those who are immunocompromised. He couldn’t give a timeline for when we could see them but says the government is ready to act once boosters are needed.

He also addresses the main change for the reversal in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask guidance citing kids in schools. Dr. Fauci is asking local health districts to make masks mandatory.

“That’s the fundamental reason for the CDC guidelines that local districts should seriously consider having a mandate for everyone in the school system to wear a mask, whether they’re vaccinated or not,” Fauci said.

When asked about a possible lockdown, he says he doesn’t foresee one happening as long vaccination numbers continue to climb.

“I don’t think we’re going to see the type of surge that would require lockdown,” Fauci explained. “If we get the majority of the people who are unvaccinated, vaccinated we are going to do [really] well. If we don’t succeed in getting the overwhelming majority of the population, we will have [a] smoldering infection that will prevent us from getting back to normal.”

Virginia health leaders said one of the biggest hurdles now is combating vaccine misinformation.

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