Mandating Covid-19 vaccines for children to attend school in person is a “good idea” due to a strong benefit-risk ratio, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
“I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Fauci acknowledged that there will be a lot of people pushing back on this idea, but said he believes the US Food and Drug Administration as well as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will establish a strong benefit-risk ratio for this, especially given that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine now has full FDA approval.
Intense debate has been swirling around vaccine mandates for schoolchildren, though none of the widely available Covid-19 vaccines in the US have yet been authorized for use in people under the age of 12. The idea of mandating a vaccine for children once it’s available to them has become more prominent in recent months as the highly transmissible Delta Covid-19 variant has caused a spike in cases, especially among younger Americans.
Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized on Sunday that the idea of mandating vaccines for children in schools is nothing new.
“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,” he said. “So this would not be something new, requiring vaccinations for children to come to school.”
ACIP will be meeting Monday to go over safety and efficacy data of the fully-approved Pfizer vaccine.
Former top official lays out timeline for kids’ vaccine approval
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner who is on the board of Pfizer, on Sunday gave some additional insight into the authorization timeline for a Covid-19 vaccine for 5-11 year-olds, telling CBS News that the drug maker will be in a position to file the data for authorization “at some point in September.”
Gottlieb went on to say that Pfizer could then file the application for Emergency Use Authorization for this age group “potentially as early as October.”
“That’ll put us on a timeframe where the vaccines could be available at some point late fall, more likely early winter, depending on how long FDA takes to review the application,” he said.
Gottlieb also pointed out that “historically, they’ve taken four to six weeks to review these authorizations,” but it could take longer than that depending on how much long-term follow-up data the FDA will require.
“They’re going to base their decision on what the circumstances around the country, what the urgency is, to get to a vaccine for kids,” Gottlieb said.