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Dr Anthony Fauci, the lightning-rod top infectious disease expert in the US, has a message for the parents of younger children: please get them vaccinated against Covid-19.
Dr Fauci spoke to Axios as US health agencies are set to authorise the jabs for children aged five to 11, a key milestone in the effort to blunt the coronavirus pandemic.
Children have generally avoided the worst outcomes of Covid-19, but they’re not immune from severe illness and even death from the virus.
With schools returning to in-person learning this autumn, and colder temperatures prompting more indoor gatherings, immunisations for children are especially important to prevent addition waves of the virus. Dr Fauci emphasised this point, telling Axios: “I sure as hell wouldn't want (my kids) to get Covid-19. I would vaccinate them in a second.”
Dr Fauci said he understands some parents might be hesitant to vaccinate their young children. To expedite the process, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said he hopes the rollout for youth vaccines would make it easy for families to get it done, focusing on pediatricians’ offices and children’s hospitals, as well as pharmacies and other public spaces.
“I would reach out and try to explain to parents ... why their children should be vaccinated,” Dr Fauci told Axios.
Tens of millions of kids would be eligible for Covid vaccines once the jabs are authorised. Currently, about 47 per cent of children aged 12 to 15 have received a vaccine dose.