Dr Anthony Fauci say he is not sure if US schools should require children to get the COVID=19 vaccine before they return for in-person learning.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert said parents should be encouraged to get their children immunized, especially on the heels of news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory committee recommended children aged 12 to 15 be given the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus shot.
However, he is worried there will be strong opposition if schools demands youngster and adolescents receive the vaccine
‘Whenever you’re talking about requiring something, that’s always a charged issue,’ Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), during an appearance on CBS This Morning.
‘I’m not so sure we should be requiring children at all, we should be encouraging them. But you got to be careful when you make a requirement of something, that usually gets you into a lot of pushback, understandable pushback.’
His comments come as the CDC director and the president of the second-largest teacher’s union call for a full return to in-person classes by the fall.
Dr Anthony Fauci said on CBS This Morning on Thursday (pictured) that he is not sure if US schools should require children to get the COVID=19 vaccine before they return for in-person learning
Fauci told host Gayle King (left) that parents should be encouraged to get their kids vaccinated, but that mandating shots could ‘get a lot of pushback’
ON Wednesday, 14 members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted ‘yes’ to give the shot to younger teens with one member recusing herself.
The vaccine was authorized for Americans aged 16 and older in December 2020 and Pfizer has been in trials for teens since October of last year.
With the formal recommendation from ACIP, and emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) given on Monday, it paves the way for most states to begin giving out the shot to adolescents on Thursday
Expanding eligibility means another 17 million Americans will be allowed to get vaccinated, which many see as a critical step to reaching herd immunity.
However, parents and health experts have been debating whether or not to give the vaccine to children, who make up only 0.1 percent of COVID fatalities .
Fauci admitted on CBS This Morning that children are at a lower risk for infection than adults, but that they are capable of transmitting the disease.
‘We are starting to see younger people get into serious trouble, again at a very low rate, but serious trouble,’ and young people who are infected can inadvertently pass infection to vulnerable people at greater risk for serious disease,’ he said.
In an attempt to assuage parents’ concerns, the NIAID director said there is currently no evidence that the vaccine comes with long-term effects and encouraged doctors to address parents’ concerns.
‘You don’t want to in any manner or form have the parents feel like they’re doing something wrong by questioning,’ he said.
‘I mean, it’s a perfectly normal thing to be concerned about your children and to question. And that’s the reason why you want to get them as much information as you possibly can and be very open and transparent about the information.’
Meanwhile, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said it is highly likely that the U.S. will see a return to in-person learning by the start of the next school year.
‘I think we should be five days a week everybody present in school in the fall,’ she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night.
‘I think we will be in a place in this pandemic that we will be able to do that. I think we should all be leaning in.’
Her comments were echoed by a statement from Randi Weingarten, president of the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union.
‘There is no doubt: Schools must be open. In person. Five days a week,’ Weingarten, who heads the American Federation of Teachers said on Thursday, according to The New York Times.
‘The United States will not be fully back until we are fully back in school. And my union is all in.’