Speaking with CNN, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added that he would not be surprised if high schoolers were vaccinated over the summer before the start of the fall semester.
‘As we get later into the year, towards the end of the year. I think by the time we get to the first quarter of 2022, we’ll be able to vaccinate children at virtually any age,’ he said.
‘Hopefully before then. But I think that’s going to be the latest we’ll see it.’
It comes just 10 days after Pfizer Inc asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand emergency use of its vaccine to Americans between ages 12 and 15.
Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured), the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he believes that nearly all children in the U.S. will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines by 2022
Fauci added that he thinks vaccines will be available earlier for high schoolers, who may be able to be vaccinated before the new school year. Pictured: Marisol Gerardo, 9, is held by her mother during the Pfizer vaccine clinical trial at Duke University, April 12
Currently, multiple coronavirus vaccine manufacturers are in the middle of clinical trials in younger people.
Recently, Phase III clinical trial data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE showed that their shot was 100 percent safe and effective in 12-to-15 year olds.
The results led the companies to ask the FDA to allow teenagers to receive their vaccine, which requires two injections around three weeks apart.
It’s unclear which children Dr Fauci meant would fall outside of eligibility, but with data already available for the safety of Pfizer’s vaccine for kids 12 and up, this age group will likely become eligible soonest, with access expanding to younger children later.
Pfizer is also studying how well its vaccine works in children between ages six months and 11 years old.
The first volunteers in the early-stage trial were given their initial injections in March and the companies hope to expand eligibility to that age group by early 2022.
Moderna has also begun running its own trial with researchers enrolling 3,000 participants between ages 12 and 17.
Half of the volunteers will be given two shots of Moderna’s immunization four weeks apart and the other half will get salt water placebos.
Meanwhile, in the UK, AstraZeneca has been testing its vaccine, giving the jab to 80 percent of a group of 300 children between ages six to 17 and the remaining volunteers a control meningitis vaccine.
Children are often the last group to be tested during clinical trials because they cannot just be treated as smaller adults.
Their bodies and immune systems behave differently, meaning they might have different treatment needs.
More than three million shots are being put in arms every day and the U.S. has hit Joe Biden’s goal of more than 200 jabs by his first 100 days in office
So far, 131.2 million Americans – 39.5% of the population – have received at least one dose and 84.2 million – 25.4% – are fully immunized
What’s more, children may need different doses or needle sizes depending on their height, weight and age – which is why most children are only vaccinated after safety has been well-documented in the adult population.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, also warned that even after people are fully vaccinated, people have to keep wearing masks.
He explained that vaccinated people may be infected without knowing it and may accidently transmit the virus to an unvaccinated person.
Research into whether a fully-vaccinated person can still transmit and infect others with COVID is ongoing, with some preliminary evidence suggesting that having a vaccine may make people completely immune from infection.
So far, 131.2 million Americans – 39.5 percent of the population – have received at least one dose and 84.2 million – 25.4 percent – are fully immunized.
More than three million people are being vaccinated every day, with the U.S. recently surpassing President Joe Biden’s goal of 200 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.