While vaccines will be available for all US adults by the end of May, teenagers will still have to wait until the fall. And vaccines for children younger than age 13 most likely won’t be available until early next year.
"Right now, we project that the clinical trials will give us information that by the time we get to the fall, high school students will be able to be vaccinated," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday. "I'm not sure if it's going to be by the first day of school, but sometime in the fall."
Their younger siblings will have to hold out a little bit longer, he explained, during a livestreamed town hall event with members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
"The way the program is now scheduled, children who are elementary school, 6 to 12, that group of individuals ... those individuals will not be able to be vaccinated until their trials are finished, which will likely be at the earliest, the end of this year," Fauci said. "More likely the first quarter of 2022."
Answering union members' questions about possible vaccine side effects, Fauci emphasized that adverse events after vaccination are "extraordinarily rare." He also gave his personal experience of the flu-like symptoms many people report after a second vaccine dose.
"I felt the same kind of transient ache in the arm, but then maybe eight or nine or 10 hours into the day, I started to feel fatigued, just sort of washed out," he said. "I felt a little chilly. I remember because my wife had a shirt on, and I was in the kitchen with a sweater and a jacket and I still felt a little bit chilly. I felt a little bit achy. I went to bed that night, woke up the next morning, still felt a little bit fatigued. By the time I got into that afternoon and that evening, I was back to normal."