It won’t be a surprise if schools require children to be vaccinated for COVID-19 the same as they do for other vaccines, says America’s top epidemiologist.
“That might occur,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Fauci said that mandates for vaccinations might depend on if the pandemic lingers into the fall.
“This is not the situation right now, but I could imagine as we get further into this and we see where we’re going with this outbreak, whether or not it’s going to be essentially with us for a considerable period, I would not be surprised,” said Fauci.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommend only emergency use of the vaccines for people aged 12 and older.
Nevertheless, both Pfizer and Moderna have launched trials for children under age 12.
According to reports, results from those trials will not be available until at least fall. Then, the FDA will review the companies’ application.
The public has been getting conflicting guidance from the American Association of Pediatrics, which recommends that all children over age 2 wear masks when they return to school, and the CDC’s advice that vaccinated students do not need to wear masks.
As Fauci explained, “The reason for what the academy did was because of the high degree of infection dynamics that we’re seeing.”
“If you look at the map of the country right now, there’s an uptick in cases in virtually all the states in the United States, and for that reason, they want to go the extra mile to make sure the children are protected in school,” Fauci said.
The CDC recently reversed itself, however, recommending masks for the even fully vaccinated people indoors and kids returning to school.
Not all states are on board with making COVID-19 vaccines a requirement for school attendance. Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Utah, and Montana have already put legislation restricting public schools from adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required immunizations.
Recently, the Republican governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, signed a bill into law that prevents the state’s public schools from mandating vaccines for school attendance until vaccines for school-aged children are federally approved.
Meanwhile, Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that all New York City teachers will be required to be vaccinated by the time school begins in September or be tested on a weekly basis.
Fauci said that parents should follow their state recommendations. “What I am saying is I would not be surprised that in the future, this is something that would be seriously considered, depending upon how we handle the outbreak,” he said.
“If we completely crush this and it stays away, and there’s very little activity at all, which I hope happens. Right now, that’s not happening, but if it does happen, I don’t think you require that. But if we go into this year and the next year and we see we still have a problem with this, it very well might be required.”
Approximately half of the country is fully vaccinated.
“The striking statistic that people should pay attention to is that 99.5% of all COVID-19 deaths are amongst unvaccinated people,” Fauci said.
“When people are unvaccinated, and they look at that, hopefully, they’ll take a look at that and say that for my own safety and that of the community, it’s very important to get vaccinated.”