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Children under 12 could be vaccinated by next year, Fauci says

Anthony S. Fauci said on May 18 that safety and immunogenicity studies were on track for children to receive the vaccine in the first quarter of 2022. (Video: The Washington Post)
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The United States is on track to begin administering the coronavirus vaccine to children younger than 12 by early next year, health officials said Tuesday, a development that would mark another significant milestone in the country’s pandemic response.

Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s leading infectious-disease expert, said that “it is likely and almost certain” that regulators will have enough health and safety data by the end of this year or during the first quarter of 2022 “to be able to vaccinate children of any age.”

Speaking at a White House briefing Tuesday morning, Fauci said health-care companies are studying the risks and benefits of vaccines for different age groups, from children age 12 to infants and toddlers.

Getting children of all ages vaccinated is seen as a crucial step toward post-pandemic normalcy and Fauci’s comments come a week after the Food and Drug Administration cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in children as young as 12.

Here are some significant developments:

  • With the Tokyo Olympics two months away, a major Japanese doctors group is calling for the event to be canceled over fears that the country’s health-care system can’t handle the medical needs of thousands of international athletes, coaches and media amid a surge of coronavirus cases.
  • Vaccines may not work in some people with compromised immune systems. Early research shows that 15 to 80 percent of people with certain medical conditions such as specific blood cancers or organ transplants are generating few antibodies after being vaccinated.
  • British scientists are warning about the virus variant first found in India, advising the government that it could be as much as 50 percent more contagious than the highly transmissible U.K. variant that became dominant in many places around the world this spring.
  • An intensive care nurse who stood at the side of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was hospitalized with covid-19 has resigned, citing lack of government support for health-care workers.
  • India registered a record 4,329 covid-19-related deaths in the previous 24-hour period but announced 263,533 new infections, the second consecutive day that the figure was below 300,000, amid hopes that the surge could be slackening.
  • The United States reported nearly 29,000 new coronavirus infections Tuesday. Cases have declined by 18 percent in the past week. The number of daily reported deaths has dropped by 11 percent over the same period.

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