Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate hearing on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in the Dirksen Senate office building in Washington, DC, July 20, 2021.
Stefani Reynolds | Swimming pool | Reuters
LONDON – Dr. Anthony Fauci outlined three main reasons for vaccinating young people against the coronavirus, with short- and long-term benefits for the entire population.
In a talk hosted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine this week, the leading US infectious disease expert discussed the importance of “long covid,” the benefits of switching to a three-dose vaccination campaign, and why he believes it is important To vaccinate children.
“I believe … that we should vaccinate the children and there are a number of reasons,” Fauci said on Wednesday.
Initially, describing young people as “spreaders” for the virus, he noted that portability of the fast-spreading delta variant in cases where schools reopened for the fall continued to fuel a surge.
Fauci said the situation is particularly alarming in the southern United States, as intensive care units in children’s hospitals in Florida, Texas, Georgia and Mississippi are at their peak. Doctors and epidemiologists fear the surge in Covid hospital admissions could get worse if children are not vaccinated and school districts impose masking requirements and other safety precautions.
“We are almost overrun. We now have a lot of children in hospitals,” said Fauci. “Although they don’t get as seriously ill in relative terms as an adult, we have lost more children to SARS-CoV-2 than we have ever lost to influenza – and we are vaccinating children against influenza.”
A woman walks near the emergency entrance to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
Paul Hennessy | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images
A third reason to support vaccinating children against the coronavirus is the possible long-term effects of infection, according to Fauci.
“We don’t know what impact this will have on anyone, including children. So it may be to our dismay that children who become infected have long-term effects that we are not currently assessing,” said Fauci called.
“For these reasons, the communicability, the severity of the disease, and the uncertainty about the long-term consequences, it is very important to me to ultimately vaccinate our children.”
What is the UK attitude like?
Fauci said that while he believed children should be vaccinated against Covid-19, he did not want to “distract” over the decisions made by the UK authorities.
The UK’s official vaccination advisors have not recommended vaccinating healthy 12-15 year olds, a move that brings the country into conflict with the US, Canada, China, Japan, Singapore, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and many other nations Europe.
The UK’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee said earlier this month that it is not recommending the vaccine for 12-15 year olds because it believes “the margin of benefit is considered too small” for the entire age group to vaccinate.
The committee added that it was not within its responsibility to examine the broader societal effects of vaccination on this age group, such as educational benefit, and noted that the government “may seek further views on the broader societal and educational effects would like to”.