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Fauci expects tens of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses at start of 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Drugmakers will likely have tens of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines in the early part of next year, with production ramping up to a billion doses by the end of 2021, Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases official, said in a Reuters interview on Wednesday.

Fauci said he is hopeful the world could get past the pandemic that has claimed more than 700,000 lives worldwide by the end of next year with the help of a vaccine.

He said he has not seen any pressure from the White House to announce a successful vaccine close to the Nov. 3 election in the hopes of boosting President Donald Trump’s re-election chances.

Fauci said health regulators have promised “they are not going to let political considerations interfere” with the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine and that “safety and efficacy” will be primary considerations.

Fauci’s interview with Reuters came on the same day Trump said in an interview with Fox News that the virus is “going away. It will go away like things go away.”

Fauci offered a more mixed assessment, saying some parts of the country had done well in containing the spread of the virus, while others were “on fire.”

He characterized the varying responses to the virus as “disjointed” – owing to the size and the diversity of the nation.

“I hope, and feel it’s possible, that by the time we get through 2021 and go around for another cycle that we’ll have this under control,” he said.

FILE PHOTO: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 31, 2020. Erin Scott/Pool via REUTERS

Video: Reuters interview with Anthony Fauci here

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Michael Erman; Writing by Lisa Lambert and James Oliphant; Editing by Howard Goller and Bill Berkrot

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