dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday that the federal government is trying to get people to self-vaccinate, but some may be necessary.
“We obviously tried very hard,” Fauci said. “We’re trying to get trusted messengers and try to get this away from an ideological or political statement, return to the realm of pure public health and try to convince people.”
Fauci said he and other health officials don’t like telling people what to do about vaccines.
“But we know that mandates work,” he said.
Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is evidence that mandates work in academic institutions and in companies such as airlines.
“So, while you might want people to do it on their own initiative, sometimes mandates can really help in that regard — sensitive as an issue is, it really gets people vaccinated more,” he said.
The best way for the US to ensure that the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to fall is to get “many more” people vaccinated, he added.
Fauci said if most people who haven’t had the injections get vaccinated, he’s confident there won’t be a new increase in cases.
Vaccinations up, new cases down
The number of Americans receiving a dose of Covid-19 vaccine has risen to about 1 million a day, according to last week’s data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New cases are on the decline, with about 93,814 infections reported every day for the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Daily Covid-19 deaths are slowly decreasing, averaging 1,692 deaths per day.
But there is bad news: the highly contagious Delta variant is not done. And cooler weather can lead to more transmission the more time people spend indoors, health experts say.
“You’re starting to see a rise in cases in the colder parts of the country and when people are being wheeled in without masks on,” said former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb Monday.
In five states, the number of new cases of Covid-19 rose by more than 10% in the past week compared to the week before. Most are in colder states: Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, and Vermont.
“The Delta wave has not passed through the United States,” Gottlieb said. “I think we still have a few months to go.”
And that means it’s too early to say what the holidays will look like.
“I think some families will have to be more careful than others,” Gottlieb said, especially those with children who may be too young to get vaccinated.
What about Halloween?
Outdoor trick-or-treating may be one of the safer vacation activities this season — but it’s important not to be careless, doctors say.
“If you live in a lot of apartment buildings and have to enter elevators and hallways to do trick-or-treating, the risk of Covid-19 is significantly higher,” she said.
“I would encourage parents not to enter other people’s condominiums and instead look for activities in a neighboring park or other primarily outdoor settings.”
And this isn’t a good year for indoor Halloween parties when kids are exposed and unvaccinated, said Dr. Megan Ranney, associate dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University.
When younger children can be vaccinated.
The FDA is considering a request from Pfizer to approve its Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The dosage would be one third of the amount used by teens and adults.
On Oct. 26, the FDA’s independent vaccine advisor — the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee — will meet to discuss pediatric vaccines.
If the FDA and CDC agree, it’s possible that children in that age group could receive their first doses by the end of this month or early November. But like adults who receive the Pfizer vaccine, they wouldn’t be fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose.
Gottlieb, who is now a board member of Pfizer, said he believes children ages 2 to 4 will not be eligible to be vaccinated until early 2022.
“Earlier, we had talked about having those (trial) data available before the end of this year, which might have led to an authorization by the end of the year, at least in children aged 2-4,” Gottlieb told CBS on Sunday.
“I think it’s more likely to slide into at least the first quarter of next year, but not too far into next year.”
Gottlieb told CBS that he plans to vaccinate his own young daughters.
“There are a lot of parents like me who, once the vaccines are available for their kids, go out and get their kids vaccinated,” he said. They ‘see the benefits of vaccination’.
Jamie Gumbrecht, Ben Tinker, Lauren Mascarenhas, Jacqueline Howard and Keith Allen of CNN contributed to this report.