Dr. Fauci: Ask Questions, but Get Your Kids Vaccinated

Dr. Fauci: Ask Questions, but Get Your Kids Vaccinated Dr. Fauci: Ask Questions, but Get Your Kids Vaccinated Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on May 11. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 03 November 2021 06:07 PM

It's understandable that parents could be hesitant about getting their children vaccinated now that the CDC has recommended shots for kids ages 5-11, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged Wednesday, adding that if his daughters were still young, he'd also ask the same questions that parents should ask about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

But, he told CNN's "New Day," he would "definitely get them vaccinated."

"Children statistically, when they get infected they do not get the incidence of severe disease to the level of adults, particularly elderly do," Fauci said. "There have been about 700 deaths in the younger age group. But children are vulnerable. They can get infected. They also can spread the infection once they get infected within the family unit. So there are a lot of reasons to get the children vaccinated."

Fauci, meanwhile, noted there are many myths about the vaccines that are not true ― namely, the rumor that the vaccines can affect fertility.

"There's no indication whatsoever, even any feasibility that would affect fertility at all," Fauci told CNN. "In fact, in the millions and millions of doses and billions of doses that have been given worldwide of the vaccine, there is no indication whatsoever that it has anything to do with fertility. Giving it to a child, you have to look for a plausible mechanism of what that would be, and there is none."

Further, while adults generally have gotten their vaccines through pharmacies or clinics, the formulation that will be made available for children will be also available at pediatrician offices, a place more familiar for most children, as well as pharmacies, children's hospitals, and other locations.

"It's a good thing," Fauci said. "We will hit the ground running. Probably by the beginning of next week, we will be at full speed. So parents should consult with their pediatricians, family physicians, pharmacists and they will be able to know exactly where to get this particular vaccine for their children, from 5 to 11."

He also stressed that children, like adults, can suffer from the long-term effects of COVID-19, even after they've gotten past the stage where they're actively ill.

"Often it takes a considerable period of time to get back to normal," said Fauci. "That's characterized by chronic, almost debilitating fatigue, muscle aches, fatigue, and things like that. You don't want them to get infected in the first place. When they do, they have a persistence of systems."

But even with the vaccines becoming even more widely available, Fauci said he's not sure the United States will ever get to "zero spread" of COVID-19.

"We want to get out of the pandemic phase and into a good, controlled phase," said Fauci. "There are different levels of approach and control of a particular outbreak…I don't think we're going to get to eradication. We only eradicated one viral disease and that's smallpox. But you can get it down to a very low level if you get enough people vaccinated, and a low level is one that doesn't interfere with how we function in society."

Meanwhile, when asked if last year's school closures could have been handled better, Fauci said the answer is that "we have to be humble and modest."

"We always can do better, always," he said. "That's the reason why you continually look about lessons learned. The idea about getting masks and getting masks worn in school, no doubt masks make a difference. Vaccinations are going to make a big, big difference. I think a combination of these things hopefully sometime in the future, we cannot only get the kids back to school but we can get rid of the masking situation."