Fauci: Authorization for Pfizer shot in teens coming 'within days'

Fauci: Authorization for Pfizer shot in teens coming 'within days'
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents as young as 12 years old "within several days," top infectious diseases scientist Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: WHO calls for pause on COVID-19 booster shots in wealthier countries | Delta's peak is difficult to project, but could come this month Surgeon General: 'Odds are high' vaccine for kids under 12 will be approved in upcoming school year Fauci: US could see 200K daily COVID-19 cases in the fall MORE said Wednesday.

"I think it’s going to be very soon," Fauci said during an interview on NBC's "Today."

"I mean, I don't want to get ahead of the FDA, but I believe it’s going to be within several days. I cannot imagine it’s going to be much longer than that," Fauci said.

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Fauci's comments echo those made by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who said during an earnings call Tuesday that an FDA decision should come "shortly."

The FDA has been reviewing Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization for nearly a month. The vaccine is currently authorized for use in teens and adults who are at least 16 years old.

Expanding the use of Pfizer's vaccine would help increase nationwide vaccination rates, which have been falling in recent weeks due to decreased demand. 

While children are broadly less susceptible to severe COVID-19, they have a higher chance of spreading infection, and are becoming an increasingly larger proportion of new coronavirus infections in the country, even with more than 100 million adults fully vaccinated.

President BidenJoe BidenBiden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland 10 dead after overloaded van crashes in south Texas Majority of New York state Assembly support beginning process to impeach Cuomo: AP MORE on Tuesday said once the vaccine is authorized, the U.S. would “immediately move to make about 20,000 pharmacy sites across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents.”

He also said the country would ship vaccines directly to pediatricians' offices, to make it as easy as possible for parents to get their children inoculated. 

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"Now that we can vaccinate those kids, it’s going to make it much, much easier to get those kids back to school without the anxiety associated with whether or not there are going to be outbreaks at that level," Fauci said.

During the same interview, Fauci also defended recent guidelines for summer camps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but acknowledged they are "a bit stringent."

The guidelines have been criticized by a variety of public health experts as being overly strict and too cautious given current knowledge about the spread of the coronavirus. 

Under the guidelines, masks must be worn at all times, even outdoors, by everyone, including vaccinated adults and children as young as 2 years old. The exceptions are for eating and swimming. Staff and campers are also expected to have more than one mask on hand each day so they can easily replace a dirty mask with a clean one. 

Campers must remain three feet apart from each other at all times including outdoors. Six feet of distance must be maintained during meals and between campers and staff.

However, the CDC just recently acknowledged that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors, unless in a large crowd, and that it's even safe for unvaccinated people to go without masks outdoors if they're alone or in a group of vaccinated people. 

Fauci said the CDC follows the science, but hinted the guidelines might be revised.

"I wouldn't call them excessive, but they certainly are conservative," Fauci said. "And I think what you're going to start to see is really in real time, continually reevaluating that for its practicality. Because you're right, people look at that and they say, 'Well is that being a little bit too far right now?' "