As part of the annual Mansfield Lecture Series, renowned COVID 19 expert Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared via ZOOM on Wednesday morning to answer selected questions presented by Robert Saldin, Director of the Mansfield Ethics and Public Affairs Program as well as four guests’ questions.

Dr. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and oversees the Rocky Mountain Labs in Hamilton.

Dr. Fauci went through the timeline of the virus, and spoke glowingly about the speed with which vaccines were developed.

“Within a period of days because of the extraordinary scientific advances in vaccine platform technology, and instruction based vaccine design, we began the development of a vaccine literally five days later,” said Dr. Fauci. “62 days later, we started the phase one trial, and on July 27, we started a phase three trial.”

Dr. Fauci explained more about the newly developed vaccines.

“This was a 94 to 95% effective vaccine,” he said. “The FDA is responsible for the final approval or at least for the emergency use authorization. The Career scientists looked at that and together with their own Advisory Committee made the recommendation that the vaccine was okay to give out and disseminate among the population in the United States.”

Dr. Fauci was asked about the lack of speed with which the vaccine is being distributed.

“The bottom line is until the supply begins to become closer matched to the demand, then there's always going to be this problem that we're facing. I would think as we get into the month of late March and through April and then May, as we get many, many more doses of vaccine available, this problem will go away. But right now, it is an issue that we need to address.”

A final question for Dr. Fauci was about how to deal with the many here in Montana who are skeptical about taking this, or any other vaccine.

“Rather than being hypercritical of people who have skepticism, I think we need all of us to respect that skepticism, but to be in a very patient measured way, explain condition by condition of why it's important to get vaccinated,” he said. “And what is the reason for the skepticism? It is that it's a new vaccine, which is true, but it has been tested in tens and tens of thousands of people, and it has been shown to be highly efficacious and really quite safe.”

Also appearing on the ZOOM call was Marshal Bloom with the Rocky Mountain Labs in Hamilton.

Find out more about the Mansfield Lecture Series here.


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