Students as young as first grade might be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by September, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor.
In an interview with ProPublica, Dr. Fauci explained how clinical trials evolve to eventually include young children.
"We're in the process of starting clinical trials in what we call age de-escalation, where you do a clinical trial with people 16 to 12, then 12 to 9, then 9 to 6," he said.
Dr. Fauci also added that he believes that we could have an authorized pediatric vaccine by September for children as young as first graders.
"I would think by the time we get to school opening, we likely will be able to get people who come into the first grade," he said.
That's welcome news for parents who want to send their children back to school and not worry about the risk of infections.
When it comes to vaccinating adults, Dr. Fauci says America will enter an "open season" for vaccinations by April.
"I'm fairly certain that as we get into and towards the end of April," he said during an interview on TODAY, "you'll see […] pharmacies, community vaccine centers, mobile units, really stepping up the pace of vaccination."
Dr. Fauci likened the pace of anticipated vaccinations in April to an "open season."
"Virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated," he said.
Again, he's speaking about adults. We're still not estimated to see a full pediatric vaccine until this fall, at the earliest.
Dr. Fauci, who's also a science advisor to President Biden, clarified that it will take several months of rapid vaccinations before we achieve herd immunity.
"Hopefully as we get into the middle and end of the summer, we have accomplished the goal of what we're talking about, namely, the overwhelming majority of people in this country having gotten vaccinated," he said.
Dr. Fauci: It Will Be 'Open Season' By April For Everyone To Receive Vaccines | TODAY www.youtube.com
So far, 30 million Americans have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 10 million Americans have received both doses.
We need upwards of 250 million vaccinated Americans to achieve herd immunity.
When asked about the U.K. variant of COVID-19 and how it might impact mass vaccination efforts in America, Dr. Fauci said that he's not overly worried about the new strain.
"The sobering news is that it does spread more rapidly," he said. "We know that from the U.K. experience. The uplifting news is that the vaccines that we now have, the Moderna and the Pfizer and very likely the ones that will be coming online soon, seem to do well against this UK variant."
Dr. Fauci added that we need to continue public health efforts like wearing masks and social distancing, while also vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible.
"If we do those two things, as serious as we take this variant, we will be able to meet that challenge," he said.
When it comes to the new trend of "double-masking," or wearing two masks, Dr. Fauci said that double-masking can definitely help you get a tighter fit with your mask and is therefore safer. However, he said it's more important that people continue to wear at least one mask.
"One mask at least, but if you really want to be sure, get a tighter fit with a second mask," he explained.
So if you're wondering when you'll be able to get the COVID-10 vaccine, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. By the end of April, doctors will begin vaccinating anyone who wants to receive the shot, regardless of risk group. It will take a few months to reach everyone--but that's a good problem.
In the meantime, continue wearing a mask and social distancing. It's up to us to keep our families safe.