Efforts are underway to vaccinate American adults as quickly as possible amid the coronavirus pandemic so the country can return to normal. This has included more and more states opening up vaccine eligibility to include larger segments of their residents.
But Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said the country achieving herd immunity to Covid-19 may also be dependent on vaccinating children, who are currently not eligible for any of the available vaccines.
“I think we have to be careful not to marry this concept of herd immunity because we really don’t know precisely, for this virus in particular, what it is,” Dr Fauci said in a statement. hearing before the Health, Education, Work and Pension Committee Senate Thursday.
“We don’t really know what the magic point of herd immunity is, but we do know that if we get the overwhelming population vaccinated, we’ll be in good shape. Ultimately, we would like to have children. in this mix, ”he added.
The longtime director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases estimated that 70 to 85% of the population should be vaccinated or have developed immunity against Covid-19 to achieve herd immunity.
Covid-19 requirements for schoolchildren have changed over the course of the pandemic, with several vaccine companies currently conducting clinical trials to better understand the impact of the vaccine on those under 16.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Friday that it is also changing recommendations for social distancing between schoolchildren.
Most students can now physically distance themselves three feet from each other instead of six feet from each other when in school if they wear a mask, the CDC said. This recommendation was addressed to all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, whether the community spread of the virus is low, moderate or severe.
But in communities where transmission rates remain high, the federal agency has recommended college and high school students stay at least six feet apart. For elementary school students where transmission levels are high, they can stay just three feet apart and wear a mask.
“The CDC is committed to leading with science and updating its advice as new evidence emerges,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Safe face-to-face education gives our children access to essential social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to be successful. ”
It was always recommended that adults in schools stay six feet from each other and students, as directed.
Following the CDC’s change in educational focus, Dr Walensky said the new guideline was driven by science and what health experts have observed in schools.
“I promised that we would lead with science… making decisions based on facts is essential,” Dr Walensky said during the White House Covid Response Team briefing on Friday.
“K12 schools that implement strong, multi-level prevention strategies can operate safely,” she added.
All in an effort to allow more schools to reopen and bring children back to classrooms across the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that physical distance measurements in schools be at least one meter, just over three feet.