Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, is urging more Americans to get vaccinated, noting that if the "overwhelming majority" of the population does so, the U.S. could finally have the pandemic under control by spring 2022.
"We hope we'll be there ... but there's no guarantee because it's up to us," Fauci told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday (August 23).
Dr. Fauci said it isn't clear what proportion of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to reach a level of protection to maintain a return to normalcy, so the best way to do so would be to have as many individuals vaccinated as possible.
Dr. Fauci's comments came hours after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older, which Fauci noted could convince a portion of unvaccinated skeptics to get vaccinated.
Pfizer-BioNTech is now the first and only coronavirus vaccine to get full FDA approval, as it -- along with the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines -- has already been approved for emergency use authorization.
CNN reports only 51.5% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated as of Tuesday (August 24) morning, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.