WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control would “likely” advise children under 12 who are not yet able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine to wear face masks to school this fall.
“The CDC is going to say what we should be doing is everyone under the age of 12 should probably wear a mask at school,” Biden said at a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Biden said children over 12 who are fully vaccinated should not wear masks, but acknowledged that it may be difficult for some school districts to determine who is or is not vaccinated.
“It’s going to get a little tight in terms of though, is mommy or daddy being honest that Johnny got the shot or didn’t get the shot? This is going to raise questions,” Biden said. “It is a question of community responsibility.”
Some local governments have reinstated mask warrants in recent days as Covid cases and deaths have risen due to the highly transmissible delta variant and declining vaccination rates. Reports of breakthrough cases among those vaccinated have also raised questions about whether certain health precautions should be reinstated.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would wear a mask in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low. In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Fauci said that if those vaccinated “wanted to go the extra mile on safety,” they might consider wearing a mask indoors, especially in crowded places.
Biden also said on Wednesday that he hoped Covid-19 vaccines would be available for children under the age of 12 “soon,” but stressed he was not lobbying the CDC or other health experts so that they rush to a decision.
“They don’t promise me a specific date, but I expect that, in talking to the group of scientists we have assembled, more than 20 of them and others in the field, maybe it will. at the start of the school year, at the end of August, beginning of September, October, they will get final approval, ”Biden said.
A Food and Drug Administration official suggested last week that the emergency clearance deadline for Covid-19 vaccines in children under 12 could be a little later, possibly early to mid-July. ‘winter.
Covid-19 vaccines have only been authorized for people aged 12 and over in the United States.
The question of whether children should be required to wear masks in schools, regardless of their immunization status, has been a point of tension among some health experts. The CDC said earlier this month that fully immunized students do not need to wear masks in classrooms, while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that all children over 2 years of age wear masks when they return to school this year, even if they are vaccinated. .
School districts are not legally required to follow CDC guidelines. Some local governments have already banned schools and colleges from requiring Covid-19 vaccines and masks.