A COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Only 50% Effective. Is That Good Enough?

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As we get closer to a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s exciting to imagine a day when the virus is gone. But a vaccine will not be a magic bullet. In fact, it may be only about 50% effective.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Health and Infectious Disease, has tried to set realistic expectations when discussing the importance of a vaccine. “We don’t know yet what the efficacy might be. We don’t know if it will be 50% or 60%,” Fauci said during a Brown University event in August.

“I’d like it to be 75% or more,” Fauci said, but he acknowledged that may not be realistic.

The Food and Drug Administration has said that once a vaccine is shown to be safe and at least 50% effective, it could be approved for use in the U.S.

So what does 50% efficacy mean?

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