Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an interview on "PBS NewsHour" that many of the one million COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented if more people had been vaccinated.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center each list a slightly different number of deaths, both figures are only a bit shy of the one million mark.
"It's estimated that if people had been vaccinated to a much greater extent right now that vaccines would've avoided at least a quarter of those deaths, namely about 250,000," Fauci said.
"This pandemic is not over," he said, warning "if we ... bring down our guard ... we can get ourselves into the same trouble we were several months ago."
Dr. Fauci on the state of the pandemic as the U.S. marks 1 million COVID-19 deaths www.youtube.com
Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than three decades and is also currently the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. He has been a staunch proponent of vaccination, repeatedly urging people to get vaccinated and boosted.
He has previously spoken positively about COVID-19 vaccine mandates. During an interview on MSNBC last year, Fauci said that while it would be preferable for people to get vaccinated voluntarily, if they are not willing to do so, "sometimes you've gotta do things that are unpopular but that clearly supersede individual choices and are directed predominantly at the communal good."
While many Americans have chosen to get vaccinated and boosted, others have declined to do so — many people have still tested positive for COVID-19 even after getting the shots.
"COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying—especially people who are boosted," the CDC states. "As with vaccines for other diseases, you are protected best when you stay up to date with the recommended number of doses and boosters."