Unvaccinated American children will have to continue to wear masks if they “interact with groups from other households,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
The country’s top infectious disease expert said it is “conceivable” that parents could send their children to playgrounds and summer camps as long as the mass vaccination continues at the same rate.
“We now have three to 3.5 million vaccinations every day,” said Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser. CBS News’ Face the nation.
‘If we keep that pace, it will invariably drive the number and number of infections per day to a much, much lower level.
FAUCI COMMENTS ON CHILDREN BEGIN AT 2:50
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said children should continue to wear masks while playing with other children ‘from different households’.
“ As we enter the summer, and you’ve vaccinated a significant percentage of the population and the community level drops below that plateau that worries me and my public health colleagues, it’s conceivable you’ll have a good degree of flexibility. in the summer, even with the kids with things like camping. ‘
Fauci added, “We’re not sure about that, but I think that’s an ambitious goal we should go for.”
When asked if vaccinated parents should be concerned about their unvaccinated children playing in groups with other children who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, Fauci said there is still a risk of infection.
He said families do not have to wear masks when they are indoors together and that the parents have been given the vaccine.
But Fauci added, “When the kids go out into the community, you want them to keep wearing masks when interacting with groups from multiple households.”
Researchers in the US and abroad are starting to test younger and younger children to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work for any age.
The first shots go to adults most at risk from the coronavirus, but children must also be vaccinated to end the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Fauci told Congress he expected high school students to likely get vaccinated in the fall. The elementary school students, he said, may not be eligible until early 2022. The image above shows students wearing face masks at St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16.
So far, the testing of teens in the United States is the furthest: Pfizer and Moderna expect to soon publish results showing how two doses of their vaccines performed in audiences 12 and older.
Pfizer is currently authorized for use from the age of 16; Moderna is for people 18 and older.
But younger children may need different doses than teens and adults.
Moderna recently started a study similar to Pfizer’s new study, as both companies are looking for the right dosage of each shot for each age group as they work to eventually vaccinate babies as young as 6 months.
Last month, AstraZeneca in Great Britain began a study of its vaccine among 6 to 17-year-olds. Johnson & Johnson is planning its own pediatric studies.
And in China, Sinovac recently announced that it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing that the vaccine is safe for children as young as three.
Obtaining this data, for all vaccines being rolled out, is critical because countries must vaccinate children to achieve herd immunity, Duke pediatric and vaccination specialist Dr. Emmanuel “Chip” Walter, who helps lead the Pfizer study.
Most of the COVID-19 vaccines in use around the world have been studied in tens of thousands of adults for the first time.
Studies in children don’t have to be that big: Researchers have safety information from those studies and subsequent vaccinations of millions of adults.
And because the rates of childhood infections are so low – they make up about 13 percent of the COVID-19 cases documented in the US – the main focus of pediatric studies is not disease counting.
Instead, researchers are measuring whether the vaccines stimulate young people’s immune systems, just like adults’ – suggesting they will provide similar protection.
Evidence that this is important because while children are far less likely than adults to become seriously ill, at least 268 have died of COVID-19 in the US alone and more than 13,500 have been hospitalized, according to a count of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
That’s more than dying from the flu in an average year.
In addition, a small number have developed a serious inflammatory condition related to the coronavirus.
Aside from their own health risks, there are still questions about how easily children can spread the virus, which complicates efforts to reopen schools.
Earlier this month, Fauci told Congress he expected high school students to likely get vaccinated in the fall. The elementary students, he said, may not be eligible until early 2022.
Fauci expressed concern that the country is starting to rise in an upward trajectory – a reversal of the trend that has started in recent weeks.
“If you come down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay on that plateau, you really run the risk of a wave coming up,” he said.
“And that’s unfortunately what we’re starting to see.”
After the country overcame post-holiday peaks in January and February, the number of confirmed new cases hovered between 50,000 and 60,000 in March.
The plateau has now turned into a rise as some 30 states and the District of Columbia report an increase in infections.
Fauci said the rollback of state mitigation measures coupled with more travel during spring break are likely the main reasons for the resurgence.
Several states have done that. I think it’s premature, ”Fauci said of several governors’ decisions to lift mask mandates and restrictions on public gatherings and businesses.