DR Anthony Fauci said that young kids will “likely” have to wait until 2022 to get the Covid vaccine, but high schoolers could get the jab in fall.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, made the predictions during a “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday.
The news comes after a third Covid vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson, was granted emergency approval by the FDA on Saturday.
As of now, both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved only for people over the age of 18.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved only for people over the age of 16.
“If we project realistically, when we will be able to get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, I would think that would be, at the earliest, the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022,” Fauci said.
Vaccinating children is an important step in achieving the overall goal of heard immunity, but studies still need to be done to determine if it’s safe to give the vaccine to them.
While children are much less likely to become seriously ill from Covid-19, they can still catch the virus and pass it on to others.
Fauci also predicted that high school students will be the first on the list to get the vaccines once they become available to school children – and that the vaccination process could begin in the fall.
“I’m not sure it’s exactly on the first day school opens, but pretty close to that,” he said.
So far, 72.8million people in the US have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, and 23.7million have been fully vaccinated.
Johnson & Johnson pledged to provide the US with 100million doses of their newly approved vaccine by the end of June.
That number combined with the 600million doses from Pfizer and Moderna, slated to be sent out by the end of July, means that every American adult who wants a vaccine should be able to get one over the summer.
There is some worry that people will be hesitant to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, since clinical trial results found it less effective than the previous two vaccines.
However, experts like Fauci have stressed that the vaccine’s 72 percent efficacy rate is still extremely high, and that Johnson & Johnson’s shot prevented 100 percent of hospitalizations and deaths from Covid.
“Don’t get caught up, necessarily, on the number game, because it’s a really good vaccine and what we need is as many good vaccines as possible,” Fauci said in an interview on Saturday.
“Rather than parsing the difference between 94 and 72, accept the fact that now you have three highly effective vaccines. Period.”
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