High school students could start being vaccinated by the beginning of fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
Fauci, the government’s leading infectious-disease scientist, also said he anticipates younger children could start being vaccinated starting by early 2022.
“For high school students, it looks like they will be available to get vaccinated in the beginning of the fall, very likely for the fall term,” Fauci said during a congressional hearing. “With regard to children, we’re doing an age de-escalation study in elementary school children from 12 to 9, 9 to 6, 6 to 2 and 6 months to 2 years. We anticipate we’ll have enough data to be able to vaccinate these younger children by the first quarter of 2022.”
During a White House COVID-19 Response Team news briefing, it was also discussed how funding will be used to get COVID-19 tests into schools by the next school year. These will be rapid tests, so students won’t have to leave campus to get results.
Fauci also shared results of studies from around the world that prove messenger RNA vaccines, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, keep a majority of people who are fully vaccinated from getting COVID-19.
Still, Fauci urged people not to let their guards down, warning of the long-term effects of COVID-19.
“Even if they do recover, almost certainly they are going to have prolongation of dysfunction in multiple organ systems,” he said. “So it’s not only the ‘long COVID.’ It’s also people who have damage to their heart, to their lungs, to their kidneys. Those are the things that we are also concerned about.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also talked about the supply issue of vaccine doses right now but said that within a few weeks, that should not be an issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.