Kids and herd immunity

Boston Statehouse

FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2020, file photo, students wear protective masks as they arrive for classes at the Immaculate Conception School while observing COVID-19 prevention protocols in The Bronx borough of New York. Schools and camps across the county are making plans to help kids catch up academically this summer after a year or more of remote learning for many of them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Pfizer could very soon seek an amended emergency use authorization from the federal government to make its COVID-19 vaccine available to people as young as 12 years old, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.

“I think that is imminent. I know they’re going to be putting in for that,” the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the president’s top COVID-19 advisor said during a press briefing. No vaccine has yet been approved for use in people younger than 16. “We would hope that children in high school will be able to be vaccinated by the time we get to the early fall season,” Fauci said Monday.

If Pfizer’s vaccine is given emergency use authorization for people as young as 12, it would expand the pool of people who could become inoculated against the coronavirus by means of a vaccine.

That would help drive up the overall percentage of Americans who are vaccinated, but Fauci cautioned Monday that people should stop focusing on reaching an estimated threshold for herd immunity.

“I would like to get people away from this concept of referring to something that is very elusive in its definition,” he said. Fauci said officials have estimated that 70 to 85 percent of the American public would need antibodies — either from a COVID-19 infection or a vaccine — for the country to reach herd immunity, but he added that there is no way to know for sure. “Rather than concentrating on an elusive number, let’s get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can,” he said.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday alluded to the future need to vaccinate teens and children during his own press conference. “This week, hopefully, we will have fully vax’ed two million people. We have at least that many and probably more, especially when we get into the under-16 population, that need to get vaccinated,” he said

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