CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — With it seemingly unlikely that the U.S. will reach herd immunity against COVID-19 with adults and teens alone, some experts are now pointing to children as the potential off ramp to the pandemic.
Currently 75% of Americans over 12 have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When children and other ineligible individuals are factored in, 65% of all Americans have received at least one dose.
The average of the ranges given by health experts to achieve herd immunity is 248 million Americans. Currently, 213 million have received at least one dose.
There are millions of adults who will just outright refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, making it harder for the goal to be achieved by adults and teens alone.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health experts have stated they believe it is likely vaccine eligibility will expand to kids between 5 and 11 years old by Halloween.
If that happens, 28 million children will then be eligible for a COVID-19 shot, which will significantly increase the chances of the U.S. reaching its herd immunity goal.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 25% of parents would not get their 5- to 11-year-old children vaccinated against COVID-19, which leaves a remaining 21 million kids most likely to get the shot.
Health experts say that there’s a stronger chance of high vaccination rates in children because they will face requirements to get their shots in school and extracurricular activities.
If all 21 million do, that will bring the U.S. to 234 million people vaccinated against COVID-19, 14 million away from the herd immunity goal.
It’s also likely that vaccine requirements impacting college admissions and high school entry will also move some more vaccine-hesitant parents to get their older teens vaccinated against COVID-19.
With more than 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines available, U.S. health authorities said they’re confident there will be enough for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.
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