“The virus is raging in all these children who are unvaccinated, which is why in schools mask mandates are so important,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner told Jake Tapper last week, pointing out that inoculation rates are also low among adolescents who are eligible. “They have no other protection. They’re literally sitting ducks.”
“We all need to remain vigilant to protect each other – and that means coming in to get your shot and booster shot, wearing masks in indoor spaces, and exercising basic safety measures that we are all familiar with by now,” Hochul said.
For teens ages 12 and up attending classes, it remains imperative for them to receive vaccinations to help curb the spread of Covid-19, officials say. And vaccine mandates, while unpopular to some, may be a necessary step.
“This is not something new. We have mandates in many places in schools, particularly public schools, that if in fact you want a child to come in — we’ve done this for decades and decades requiring (vaccines for) polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis,” Fauci said. “So this would not be something new, requiring vaccinations for children to come to school.”
Officials expect additional vaccine data soon
If authorized, the CDC would move quickly to recommend the use of Covid-19 vaccines in younger children, agency director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
“Everybody is looking at this with urgency. Everyone recognizes how important it is for those children to have access to vaccines,” Walensky said during a National Parent Teacher Association town hall Wednesday.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve or authorize the vaccines in younger children first, Walensky noted. And the vaccine makers must make the case to the FDA with clinical trial data.
“My understanding of the timeline is pretty consistent with what is being said — the middle of fall is my understanding, early fall is when we will anticipate seeing the data — and then it will lie with the hands of the FDA. And I’m hopeful for the end of the year,” she said.
Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for Americans 16 and older, and emergency use authorization has been granted for those 12 and up. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are under emergency use authorization only for adults 18 and older.
Clinical trials of vaccines for children under the age of 12 are ongoing.
Fauci said Wednesday that the FDA should have the data to consider authorizing a Covid-19 vaccine for children under 12 by the end of September.
“We should have enough of the data to examine and make a decision as we get into late September, the beginning of October,” Fauci said. “Then the data will be presented to the FDA, and the FDA will make a determination whether they will grant that under an emergency use authorization or some other mechanism.”
When asked whether a Covid-19 vaccine will be authorized for young children before Thanksgiving, Fauci said he hopes so, but does not want to get ahead of the FDA.
Group says nursing shortage is a ‘national crisis’
The American Nurses Association has called on the US Department of Health and Human Services to declare the nation’s shortage of nurses a “national crisis,” according to a letter the group sent to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“The nation’s health care delivery systems are overwhelmed, and nurses are tired and frustrated as this persistent pandemic rages on with no end in sight. Nurses alone cannot solve this longstanding issue and it is not our burden to carry,” association president Ernest Grant said on Wednesday.
They note that their findings support arguments for using masks more frequently as well as potentially offering booster doses of vaccine if similar evidence is gathered elsewhere.
The strain placed on health care systems is likely to continue into the near future, but there are signs that the situation could start to improve.
Yet despite the potential news that the surge could soon ease, the CDC urges caution with the data since actual numbers have fallen outside the range of previous predictions. CDC’s latest forecast predicts 550,000 to 1,600,000 new cases likely to be reported in the week ending September 25.
In the short term, Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that it will help for people to practice mitigation measures, like masking and avoiding congregate settings.
“In the intermediate and longer term, it’s going to be vaccines that are going to solve this problem,” Fauci said.
CNN’s Naomi Thomas, Lauren Mascarenhas, Jacqueline Howard, Maggie Fox, Amanda Sealy, Lauren del Valle and Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.