New CDC director: Don’t expect normalcy in U.S. after 100 days of vaccine

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that she doubts the U.S. will return to normal after 100 days of the vaccine.

“It’s going to take a while for us to feel like we’re back to a sense of normalcy,” Walensky said during a CNN town hall on the pandemic Wednesday night.

“After the first 100 days, I think we’ll get 100 million vaccines into people’s arms,” she said, referencing President Joe Biden’s goal to accelerate the rollout. “That will be protection for perhaps about 50 million, some people will be after two doses, some people will still be in the process of getting their second dose.”

“Will we feel as if we have herd immunity by the end of the first 100 days? I told you I’d tell you the truth: I don’t think we’re going to feel it then,” she said. “After we vaccinate 100 million Americans, we’re going to have 200 million more that we’re going to need to vaccinate.”

“We are working to figure out where the bottlenecks are and resolve those bottlenecks, but it’s going to take some time to get 300 million Americans vaccinated twice,” said Walensky, who was previously an infectious diseases specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

She also emphasized CDC guidelines for those who have already been infected with COVID-19 to get the vaccine, as long as it’s been at least 90 days.

“We don’t know a lot about the long-term [natural] immunity of this disease,” she said. “In my mind, everybody should be rolling up their sleeves.”

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