EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Fauci optimistic kids can start getting vaccinated this fall

The data necessary to evaluate the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines in children could be available for two candidates by the end of October, according to President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Advisor.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is also the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told ABC11 in an exclusive interview that Pfizer's trials will be ready to review by the end of September, while Moderna will be ready in October.

"As we get into the fall, it is very likely that vaccines will be available down to five or six years old as we get into October and early November," Dr. Fauci said.

In North Carolina, state health officials are reporting as many as one third of all new cases of COVID-19 are occurring in children ages 17 and under.

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"Given the fact that we're dealing with the Delta variant, which is much, much more transmissible than the previous variants, more and more children are getting infected, and as more children get infected, more children are getting hospitalized," Fauci said. "If you go to the pediatric hospitals, particularly in the south where you are, you will see the pediatric hospitals are crowded with kids with COVID."

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Still, the rate of hospitalizations among children has not increased and remains lower than adults. Roughly 85% of seniors, moreover, are vaccinated.

"We're having a shift in the demography where it's the 30, 40, 50 year-olds infected and getting into trouble," Dr. Fauci said. "All you need to do is go to a hospital where there's a high degree of infection and the profile of people has changed from the early months of the outbreak. Yesterday, we had 164,000 people in the U.S. got infected. 164,000 people in one day. It is no time to pull back on mitigation or pull back on the push to get as many people vaccinated as we can."
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