The Slatest

Fauci Backs Vaccine Mandate for School Children: “A Good Idea”

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on August 10, 2021.
Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on August 10, 2021. JIM WATSON/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, said he supports the idea of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children attending schools. “I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” Fauci told CNN’s State of the Union. Fauci recognized the idea would be met with lots of resistance but he said that the government has long mandated vaccines for children to attend school. “This is not something new,” Fauci said. “We’ve done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis” vaccinations.

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Although children under 12 are still not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that could soon change. Fauci said on ABC’s This Week that federal regulators are set to start examining the data on children under 12 sometime in mid-to-late September. “Hopefully we’ll be acting quickly, depending on the data, and their assessment of the risk-benefit ratio,” Fauci said. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner who is on the board of Pfizer, said the company’s vaccine could be available for children under 12 before the holiday season. “The agency will be in a position to make an authorization, I believe, at some point, late fall, probably early winter,” Gottlieb told CBS’ Face the Nation. “And probably they’re going to base their decision on what the circumstances around the country, what the urgency is to get to a vaccine for kids.” Under the timeline, it’s possible that children under 12 could start getting the vaccines before the end of the year.

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As the United States sees a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly infectious Delta variant, Fauci said the White House is “sticking with” its recommendation that booster shots be given out eight months after a completed COVID-19 vaccination. But he also made clear that could change. “Although we’re sticking with eight, we’re remaining flexible, that if the data tells us differently, we’ll make adjustments accordingly,” Fauci told ABC.

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