Fauci lays out timeline for vaccinating teens, children

The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciMore than 40 Texas hospitals face ICU bed shortages FDA mulling to allow 'mix and match' COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Remembrances flow in after Powell's death MORE, said on Sunday that high school students could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in the fall, while younger children will likely have to wait until early next year.

Speaking with host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddArkansas governor backs employer vaccine mandates Paid family leave is 'not a vacation,' Buttigieg says Grisham thinks Trump will run in 2024 and have no 'guardrails' MORE on NBC's "Meet the Press," Fauci explained that more data is needed to make sure the three vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration can be safely administered to younger children.

"If you project realistically when we'll get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, I would think that would be at the earliest the end of the year and very likely the first quarter of 2022," said Fauci.

"But for the high school kids, it looks like sometime this fall," he continued. "I'm not sure it's exactly be on the first day the school opens but pretty close to that."

Fauci also expressed his support for the newly authorized vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson, telling NBC that he would get that vaccine if he was in a situation where it was the first one to which he had access.

"Well Chuck, first of all, you now have three highly efficacious vaccines, for sure," Fauci said. "There's no doubt about that. And particularly the recent results from [Johnson & Johnson] -- if you look at the efficacy against severe disease, greater than 85 percent, and there have been no hospitalization or deaths in multiple countries, even in countries that have the variants."

"If you go to a place and you have[Johnson & Johnson] , and that's the one that's available now, I would take it. I personally would do the same thing," he said.

Fauci's comments come as a debate has raged nationwide over what percentage of teachers and possibly students should receive a COVID-19 vaccine before schools can reopen safely for in-person learning.

The Biden administration pledged that schools would reopen within the president's first 100 days in office, which raised concerns among some teachers who have worried that they will be sent back to work without access to a vaccine.

"The president will not rest until every school is open five days a week. That is our goal," White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Democrats at odds with Manchin over child tax credit provision MORE said earlier this month.