The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be approved for 12-to 15-year-olds "within several days," Dr. Anthony Fauci told the NBC News "Today" show on Wednesday.
"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," said Fauci, who is the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as the chief medical adviser to the president.
When asked if current guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for children outdoors at summer camps - which still require social distancing and masks worn at all times, among other restrictions – are too excessive, Fauci said "I wouldn't call them excessive, but they certainly are conservative."
He acknowledged that the restrictions look "a bit strict, a bit stringent, but that's the reason why they [the CDC] keep looking at that and trying to re-evaluate, literally in real time, whether or not that's the practical way to go" as the time nears for children to be able to return to summer camps.
Fauci also discussed President Joe Biden's new declared goal of at least one shot for 70% of U.S. adults by July 4, saying it is "an ambitious, but nonetheless, attainable goal," saying he thinks the country will reach the mark by the target date.
He told NBC that a main reason why he is confident that the nation will reach the goal by then is that the country is moving away from mass vaccination centers and utilizing a system where people can just walk in, without an appointment, to many thousands of pharmacies that will have a supply of the vaccine in order to get the shot.
Fauci said that if the U.S. reaches the 70% vaccinated goal, it would not necessarily mean the nation has reached herd immunity, but said the disease would thus become less transmissible. This would also help enable the restrictions to become much more liberalized.
When asked if he is comfortable with the rapid pace of reopening occurring throughout most of the country, Fauci said it is important not to declare victory prematurely.
He stressed that the "real message is that every single day when we vaccinate more people we get closer and closer to being able to pull back more and more on the restrictions," adding that "the answer to everybody's problem is to just get as many people vaccinated as you possible can."
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