Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, projected on Thursday’s NBC “Today” it will be “open season” for coronavirus vaccines in April.
While coronavirus vaccines have been limited to high-risk groups, the number of Americans who qualify for vaccinations has steadily risen in recent weeks. It is his hope the US will get to a point where all groups can begin getting vaccinated by April.
Fauci cautions that with limited supply, it could still take months for everyone who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine.
“If you look at the projection, I would imagine by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call, for better wording, open season, virtually anybody and everybody in any category could start to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “From then on, it would likely take several more months, just logistically, to get vaccine into people’s arms, so that hopefully as we get into the middle and end of the summer, we will have accomplished a goal of what we’re talking about, namely the overwhelming majority of people in this country having gotten vaccinated.”
As of Thursday, roughly 1 in 10 Americans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, representing more than 34 million people. Of those people, 11 million have been fully vaccinated.
There are currently two vaccines that have emergency use authorization from the FDA. Both are two-shot vaccines, which require patients to return three to four weeks later for a booster. Other one-shot vaccines, such as Johnson and Johnson’s candidate, could soon be administered throughout the US if given authorization. Johnson and Johnson applied for an emergency use authorization last week.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Fauci told ProPublica that he projects that children can start getting vaccinated before the fall. While data indicates young children do not spread the virus nearly as efficiently as adults, there is evidence that teenagers are spreaders of the virus.
Fauci said getting children vaccinated for the coronavirus would come in phases.
“We’re in the process of starting clinical trials in what we call age de-escalation, where you do a clinical trial with people 16 to 12, then 12 to 9, then 9 to 6,” Fauci told ProPublica. “I would think by the time we get to school opening, we likely will be able to get people who come into the first grade.”
There are ongoing vaccine trials for children as young as 12. Fauci expects that data to be available in the coming months.
“It is critical that pediatric patients of all ages be included in trials as quickly as possible,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Lee Savio Beers in a statement last week. “We are especially concerned about children who belong to racial, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic or who have underlying conditions that place them at increased risk for developing severe COVID-19 infection.”