And vaccination rates have declined: Where there were once an average of more than 3 million doses administered per day, data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the seven-day average has fallen to 2 , 5 million per day.
“I think we’re going to be able to do it,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of Biden’s main advisers, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, referring to the increase. the number of people vaccinated.
“I think it’s changing the strategy a bit – getting out of the mass immunization approach and actually setting up walk-in capacity in about 40,000 pharmacies across the country, setting up mobile units, obtaining the local accessibility capability. rather than these large mass vaccination sites. ”
“For people who work and are paid by the hour, who do not necessarily have time off from their boss, who do not have vaccines available in their community, who do not take walk-in hours, there are still a number of people out there who just need to be easier, ”Slavitt told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
The surge in vaccination rates becomes even more critical as experts look to the latter part of 2021. If the United States does not achieve 80% herd or community immunity, the country could face another surge in winter, said vaccine expert Dr Paul Offit. Tuesday.
Vaccinations likely to open to children
Currently, the youngest people eligible for Covid-19 vaccines are 16 years old. But by next week, authorities could expand that access to much younger teens.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering extending its emergency use authorization for Pfizer / BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to children 12 to 15 years old. A federal official told CNN the clearance should be straightforward and could be expected by next week.
CDC vaccine advisers have scheduled an emergency meeting for May 12, according to a new schedule posted on the CDC website.
If and when the FDA grants the EUA, then the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices should meet to vote on whether to recommend the vaccine for use in the new age group, and the director of the CDC would then have to approve it.
In September, Pfizer plans to submit to the EUA for children ages 2 to 11, the company said during its first quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday.
While vaccinating children quickly seems more optimistic, it is too early to say whether school districts could require students to be vaccinated to return to classrooms this fall, Slavitt said.
Such a decision would be made locally and may require full vaccine approval from the FDA, he said.
Meanwhile, Slavitt said: “Not only do we want to do it on time for school, but we want to do it on time so that the kids can really enjoy their summer activities without having to worry, without having to. wear their masks. . ”
Fauci calls on young people to “be part of the solution”
When the FDA authorized a vaccine for them, Fauci said he hoped children and teens would not hesitate.
“You have the ability to protect yourself as a 12 to 15 year old, but also to know that you are not going to pass it on to someone else,” Fauci said. “You even want to call on young people to say, ‘I want to protect myself, but I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. ”
Add millions more to the vaccinated population make a big difference in terms of boosting the immunity of the population, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, told CNN.
Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children as young as 6 months old and plan to apply to the FDA for a US covering infants and children later this year.
States set reopening dates
The United States may not yet be at collective immunity level, but states are bracing for a major easing of restrictions.
On Thursday, Los Angeles and San Francisco will move to California’s least restrictive reopening level, allowing most businesses to resume indoor activities.
The two areas, which make up about a quarter of the state’s population, have case rates of less than 2 per 100,000 people. The seven-day positivity rate in Los Angeles County is 0.7%, while that in San Francisco is 0.6%, according to state health data.
Starting May 21, Delaware will lift all restrictions on the indoor capacity of restaurants, retail stores, other businesses and places of worship, according to a press release from Governor John Carney’s office. Masks will still be needed indoors.
Once Pennsylvania fully immunizes 70 percent of the state’s population, authorities will lift the masking orders, Gov. Tom Wolf said.
Just over 50% of the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 3.5 million have been fully vaccinated, the health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Lauren Mascarenhas, Ryan Prior, Cheri Mossburg, Brian Vitagliano and Krsitina Sgueglia contributed to the report.