Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed hope this week that COVID-19 vaccinations will soon be approved for infants, toddlers, and young children.
What did Fauci say?
Although it has been just weeks since the government approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 12, Fauci said that "hopefully" the vaccine is approved for infants and young children by next spring.
"Hopefully within a reasonably short period of time, likely the beginning of next year in 2022, in the first quarter of 2022, it will be available to them," Fauci told Business Insider.
"Can't guarantee it— you've got to do the clinical trial," he added.
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Pfizer seems to be the likely frontrunner in the race to vaccinate babies and toddlers, because its pediatric vaccine trials are already underway. (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also planning to trial their COVID-19 vaccines in young kids, but Moderna is still in the recruitment phase for children in the 6 month to 6 year cohort, while J&J has had some regulatory delays, and is still testing its vaccine in 12-17 year olds.)
Pfizer-BioNTech said in September that results from their clinical trials for "children 2-5 years of age and children 6 months to 2 years of age" are expected as soon as the fourth quarter of this year.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 605 people under age 17 in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. However, the actual number could be lower because that figure contains confirmed and "presumed" COVID cases.
It's not clear, then, how many Americans will rush to inject their infants and young children with the COVID-19 vaccine considering so few young Americans have died from the virus. CDC data show, in fact, that more than 700,000 of the 765,000 COVID deaths in the U.S. have come from people aged 50 and older.
Fauci seemingly tried to change the definition of fully vaccinated this week to include a booster shot.
"I happen to believe as an immunologist and infectious disease person that a third-shot boost for an mRNA [vaccine]...should be part of the actual standard regimen, where a booster isn't a luxury," Fauci said this week, the New York Post reported.
"A booster isn't an add-on and a booster is part of what the original regimen should be. So that when we look back on this, we're going to see that boosters are essential for an optimal vaccine regimen," he added.