There’s a good chance that younger kids will be able to start getting COVID-19 vaccines early next month, according to Anthony Fauci, M.D. In fact, “It’s entirely possible, if not very likely” that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will become available to children ages 5 to 11 in the first or second week of November, Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in an interview on ABC This Week on Sunday.Dr. Fauci based his most recent predicted timeline on a promising analysis of the trial data that regulators and experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will use to help make their determinations on whether to authorize and recommend the vaccine for this age group. “If you look at the data that’s been made public and announced by the company, the data look good as to the efficacy and the safety,” Dr. Fauci told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. While Dr. Fauci cautioned that “you never want to get ahead” of the FDA or CDC in their decision-making process, he anticipates that both regulatory agencies will give Pfizer/BioNTech’s two-dose mRNA vaccine the green light in the next couple weeks, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine available to kids under age 12 in the U.S. “If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval [from the FDA] and the recommendation from the CDC, it’s entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from [ages] 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November,” Dr. Fauci said. Dr. Fauci’s comments came two days after the FDA shared a document reviewing the evidence submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech on the safety and effectiveness of their vaccine in this age group. The data suggest that the vaccine produces a robust immune response in kids and is 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, as well as 100% effective against hospitalizations. There were three cases of COVID-19 among 1,450 participants in the group that received the vaccine, compared to 16 cases among 736 participants in the group that received the placebo shot. (No genetic sequencing data were available so it’s not clear whether these cases were caused by the delta variant, for instance.)When it comes to the safety of the shots, the FDA didn’t find any unexpected side effects or adverse events associated with the vaccine in this age group. The agency also used statistical modeling to predict the potential risk of rare heart problems (myocarditis and pericarditis) that have occurred among other younger groups of vaccine recipients (above age 12), and still found the protection offered by vaccination persuasive. Overall, according to the FDA’s analysis, “the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 2-dose primary series clearly outweigh the risks for ages 5-11 years.”The next step in the regulatory process starts on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, when the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet to evaluate the evidence. After getting input from that independent panel of outside experts, the FDA will make its final decision on whether to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine. Then, the FDA will hand over their decision to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), who will offer their clinical recommendations on whether and how the vaccine should be administered. While the timeline here is not set, the panels generally move quickly. For instance, in May of this year, ACIP took two days to make its recommendations after the FDA issued an EUA for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15.Dr. Fauci’s new timeline for when the first COVID-19 vaccines will become available to children under 12 is a slight adjustment from his last estimate. In late September, the White House Chief Medical Adviser said he thought children could start getting the shots “hopefully, before the end of October,” as SELF reported at the time. But the first or second week of November is still generally in line with expert predictions, including that of an FDA official who said that the vaccines would be available by early to mid-winter. Regardless of the exact day that kids can start getting their shots, it will be a welcome and long-awaited one for families who have unvaccinated children. Related:
Simone Biles’s terrifying experience at the Tokyo Olympics this summer continues to impact the way she performs gymnastics to this day. Biles revealed in a new interview that she is “still scared” to do certain moves—but also feels strong and proud of herself for getting through it. On the Today show this week, Biles shared that she still gets the “twisties” when she performs. The phenomenon, sometimes triggered by stress, occurs when an athlete’s mind and body have a disconnect midair, resulting in a potentially dangerous loss of muscle memory and spatial awareness. That danger forced her to pull out of several Olympics events earlier this year—and it’s what prevents her from doing any moves that require twisting in mid-air on the Gold Over America Tour she is currently on. “I don’t twist,” Biles said of her Gold Over America Tour performances. “I do double layout half-outs, which is my signature move on the floor, but that’s never affected me,” Biles explained. “Everything else—it just weighs so heavy. And I watch the girls do it. It’s just not the same.” Biles added, “I’m still scared to do gymnastics.” Biles also spoke about how frustrating it is “to do something that I’ve done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I’ve gone through,” considering how much she loves the sport. “It’s hard,” she said, tearing up. “I don’t think people understand the magnitude of what I go through. But for so many years to go through everything that I’ve gone through and put on a front, I’m proud of myself.” In the interview, the four-time Olympic champion also revisited what happened in Tokyo, connecting her long-time repression of being sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar with getting the twisties. “Over the years, after suppressing so many emotions and putting up a front on a global scene, I think really all of that came to light,” Biles said. “My body and my mind allowed me to suppress all of that stuff for so many years for as long as it could take. And as soon as we stepped on the Olympics scene, it just decided it couldn’t do it anymore, and it cracked.” Reflecting back on that moment when she realized she wouldn’t be able to perform, Biles said she at first almost blamed herself for the anxiety and mind-body disconnect she was experiencing. “But I knew I couldn’t put that blame on myself,” she said. “And once that happened, all the pieces were put together and I knew exactly what was going on, why it was happening.” Biles believes her experience shows the importance of facing mental health issues head-on. “That’s why taking care of your mental wellbeing and mental health is so important so that something like that doesn’t happen,” said Biles. “I’m grateful that it wasn’t somebody else, and it was me because I know I’m strong enough and I can get back on my feet and I’m going to be OK with the right help,” she continued.
Celine Dion is postponing her Las Vegas residency slated to begin next month due to a health issue causing “unforeseen medical symptoms.” “I’m heartbroken by this,” Dion, 53, wrote in an emotional Instagram post breaking the news to fans on Tuesday. “My team and I have been working on our new show for the past eight months, and to not be able to open this November saddens me beyond words.”Dion posted a press release explaining that serious muscle spasms have made her unable to rehearse for the show. “Celine has been experiencing severe and persistent muscle spasms which are preventing her from performing,” the release says. “Her medical team continues to evaluate and treat her. However, the symptoms she is experiencing are prohibiting her from participating in the ongoing rehearsals for the new show.” The press release did not discuss any other details related to the muscle spasms.She also issued an apology to her concert producers and promoters and the fans that were set to attend the show, which was set to run from November 5 to 20, 2021 and then from January 19 to February 5, 2022. “My partners at Resorts World Las Vegas and AEG have been working around the clock to get this brand-new state-of-the-art theatre ready, and it’s absolutely beautiful,” Dion said. “I feel so bad that I’m letting them down, and I’m especially sorry for disappointing all the fans who’ve been making their plans to come to Las Vegas.” (Ticket holders will receive refunds, as well as first access to ticket sales for new performance dates once the show is scheduled to resume, according to the press release.)Dion added that she hopes to recover quickly. “Now, I have to focus on getting better…I want to get through this as soon as I can,” she wrote. The singer is still set to resume her Courage world tour, which is scheduled to resume beginning March 9, 2022, according to the release. Muscle spasms, or sudden involuntary muscle contractions, are pretty common. While uncomfortable and temporarily incapacitating, they are usually not serious and go away on their own, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to sharp pain and an inability to use the muscle, these spasms, which often develop in the legs, can also result in a palpable lump of muscle tissue under the skin.
Police officers and other essential workers should consider the broader implications of refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, says Anthony Fauci, M.D. Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reasoned in a Fox News interview on Sunday that for public-facing employees like police officers, vaccination is about protecting not only themselves and their coworkers, but the citizens they serve. Anchor Chris Wallace asked Dr. Fauci about whether public and private employers should reconsider enforcing vaccine mandates amid the threat of essential worker shortages. For instance, Wallace noted that the president of the Chicago police union recently said that the city could see its police force shrink by 50% if a citywide vaccine mandate is enforced. “I’m not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now,” Dr. Fauci began. “Take the police. We know now the statistics—more police officers die of COVID than they do in other causes of death. So it doesn’t make any sense to not try to protect yourself as well as the colleagues that you work with.” The choice to forgo the protection of vaccination, in turn, impacts the communities officers are charged with serving, Dr. Fauci pointed out. “Think about the implications of not getting vaccinated when you’re in a position where you have a responsible job, and you want to protect yourself because you’re needed at your job, whether you’re a police officer or a pilot or any other of those kinds of occupations.” COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of at least 476 officers since the pandemic began in 2020, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tallies officer fatality data from departments across the country. That makes the virus the leading cause of job-related deaths by far among police officers in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021. (For comparison, there were 94 deaths from gunfire over the same period.) And as vaccine mandates for public employees go into effect in states and cities across the country, the decision not to get vaccinated could result in further shrinking police forces. So far, a number of police departments and unions are resisting or refusing to comply with mandates, and some officers are electing to quit the force over getting vaccinated. In Chicago, approximately 4,500 of the city’s 12,770 police officers (about 35%) failed to report their vaccination status by the October 15 deadline, CNN reported. (Of those who did report their status, 6,894 said they were vaccinated while 1,333 said they were unvaccinated, according to CNN.) Those who are unvaccinated must get tested for COVID-19 twice a week, while those who haven’t responded risk being put on unpaid leave. In Los Angeles, the sheriff said he will not enforce the citywide vaccine mandate, and suggested that doing so could result in the loss of 5 or 10% of the police department’s 18,000-person workforce, NPR reports. Meanwhile, Seattle, already facing a police shortage, may soon lose more officers as Washington state’s vaccine mandate for public employees takes effect. The president of the police union said he expected a “mass exodus” of officers in Seattle, the AP reports. Vaccine mandates are an issue many workforces are having to grapple with currently; supporters of vaccine mandates argue for the public health necessity of mass vaccination, while opponents object to them as a violation of personal freedom. For instance, Wallace noted that Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently issued an executive order banning public and private organizations from enforcing vaccine mandates. “I think when you’re in a public health crisis, sometimes unusual situations require unusual actions,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’re not living in a vacuum as individuals. We’re living in a society, and society needs to do to be protected, and you do that by not only protecting yourself, but by protecting the people around you by getting vaccinated.”Related:
As we head into our second holiday season of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anthony Fauci, M.D. shared some guidelines on how to safely celebrate with loved ones. Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview on Sunday that he fully supports family gatherings this year, with one major caveat: vaccination.“I believe strongly that particularly in the vaccinated people—if you’re vaccinated and your family members are vaccinated…then you can enjoy the holidays,” Dr. Fauci told ABC News anchor Martha Raddatz on This Week. “You can enjoy Halloween, trick-or-treating, and certainly Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas with your family.” If you and your loved ones are fully vaccinated, Dr. Fauci said, “There’s no reason at all why you can’t enjoy the holidays in a family way, the way we’ve traditionally done it all along.” Of course, children under age 12 still are not eligible to get vaccinated, as Dr. Fauci pointed out. None of the available COVID-19 vaccines have yet been authorized for use that age group (although the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is expected to be authorized for use in kids ages 5 to 11 in the next couple weeks). Until then, young kids will continue to count on the people and communities around them for protection. “That’s one of the reasons why we emphasize why it’s so important to get vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci said. ”Not only for your own safety, for that of your family, but also for the good of the community to keep the level of infection down.” Dr. Fauci’s latest guidance comes about a week after he endorsed trick-or-treating, and two weeks after the infectious disease experts made comments on holiday gatherings that he says were “taken completely out of context,” as SELF reported. Dr. Fauci was initially quoted as saying it was “too soon to tell” if families could spend the holidays together. He later clarified that he meant it was too soon to predict the state of the pandemic in December, and said he would encourage people, “particularly the vaccinated people who are protected,” to enjoy “good, normal” holiday celebrations with their families. As the holidays approach, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also released its new guidelines on how to safely celebrate this year. And many of them echo the agency’s general guidelines for socializing and traveling. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is at the top of the list. The CDC points out the fact that holiday gatherings are often a multi-generational affair, meaning they may include young children (who are unvaccinated), as well as elderly adults (who are at higher risk of severe illness). So it’s prudent for those eligible to get vaccinated to do so before partaking in those get-togethers. The CDC also reminds people that even fully vaccinated individuals are advised to wear masks in public indoor spaces if they live in communities where there is substantial transmission—or if they live with someone who is unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or at higher risk of severe illness. (Those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised should always wear well-fitting masks in public indoor settings.)
This week, Anthony Fauci, M.D., shared his big-picture perspective on where we are in the fight against COVID-19—as well as where we’re heading next. Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in a White House press briefing on Wednesday that much of the world, including the U.S. “in some respects,” is still in the pandemic phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, and total elimination of the virus is unrealistic right now. But he has no doubt “it is within our power and within our capability” to achieve stable control of the virus in the near future. As for where we’re going, a world with no COVID-19 at all is an unlikely endpoint, Dr. Fauci conceded. Historically, we have been able to virtually eradicate some diseases, such as polio and measles here in the U.S., and smallpox worldwide. But in the case of COVID-19, “It is going to be very difficult—at least in the foreseeable future and maybe ever—to truly eliminate this highly transmissible virus,” Dr. Fauci said. Instead, a more meaningful goal is achieving and maintaining tight and stable control of the virus, where “there’s a low level of infection that doesn’t disrupt society in any meaningful way,” Dr. Fauci explained. “We’re looking for a level of control of the virus that would allow us to be able to essentially approach the kind of normal that we are all craving for and that we all talk about.” While the U.S. has made progress, we’ve never actually gotten to the point of stability required to return to normalcy. Every surge in COVID-19 infections has passed only to be followed by another one. “We always went to a peak, the acceleration diminished, and we turned the corner and we came back down, but we never got to control,” Dr. Fauci explained. While recent downward trends in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths indicate the U.S. is turning a corner on the most recent surge, we’re not approaching that point of stable control yet. “There is a point where you get a decline in the acceleration and a turnaround of cases…that’s where we are,” Dr. Fauci said. But as it remains, the U.S. is still seeing tens of thousands of cases a day. “We have got to do better than that,” Dr. Fauci said. “We need to get that curve to go much further down than it is, because we’re dealing with a situation where you have a highly transmissible virus and where the dynamics of the virus are at 80 to 90,000 cases a day,” he explained. “That’s not where you want to be.”The good news is that the level of containment of the virus we’re seeking is in sight, according to Dr. Fauci. “We can get to control. Without a doubt, it is within our power and within our capability.” He ended on a note he and other experts have emphasized over and over: the paramount importance of vaccination in helping us get to that place of normalcy. Though evidence shows that the real-world protection of the COVID-19 vaccines against infection, hospitalization, and death is high, approximately 66 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are still unvaccinated, Dr. Fauci pointed out. With vaccine mandates going into effect at more companies and institutions—and vaccinations for children under 12 on the horizon—there are reasons to be hopeful about vaccination rates going up soon. But as it currently stands, “Particularly among the younger groups, we have a long way to go,” he said. “Protect yourself and those around you,” Dr. Fauci urged. “Vaccination is the answer to getting us to control.”Related:
Meatless burger pioneer Impossible Foods is now trying to recreate another plant-based version of an American fast food classic: the chicken nugget.The Impossible Chicken Nuggets debuted in September, when they started appearing on the menus of a handful of celeb chef-owned restaurants (like David Chang’s fried chicken joint Fuku in New York City). Now, the veg-friendly nuggets are rolling out at more restaurants—Burger King is testing them out in a few locations—and available in the freezer aisle at a growing number of grocery stores across the country, like ShopRite and Kroger, with more to come.Being big fans of food innovation here at SELF, we decided to give ‘em a try.The first thing you should know about your reviewer is that I am not exactly a chicken nugget aficionado. Kind of the opposite, actually, as a decade-long vegetarian. But! Younger, pre-veg Carolyn would 100% identify as a connoisseur of nuggets. I grew up on a nugget-heavy diet: lots of dinosaur-shaped nuggs hot from the microwave as a kid, a years-long stretch where at restaurants I exclusively ordered chicken nuggets and fingers (whether it was on the menu or not), and a not-modest amount of Wendy’s in high school.So my baseline here for what a chicken nugget should taste like is just more… nostalgic. OK, I feel better getting that off my chest. Now, about those nuggets.How Impossible Chicken Nuggets tasteThere are three ways to prepare the nuggets: pop them in the oven for 11 minutes, the air fryer for seven to eight minutes, or the microwave for one to two-and-a-half minutes. I air-fry everything these days, so I tried that method first.The first sign that Impossible hit the nuggety nail on the head was the smell: uncanny. A few minutes after I popped them in the air fryer, the unmistakable scent of chicken nuggets was in the air. Chicken-y, bready, fatty, and very much evocative of dinnertime as a kid.How did they taste? Astoundingly nuggety.The golden-brown breading is sand-fine, lightly crispy, well-seasoned, and appropriately crumby—and the breading-to-filling ratio is spot-on. (The coating crisped up considerably more in the air fryer than the oven, and hardly at all in the microwave, unsurprisingly.)Breading is easy to get right, though. What about the actual chicken filling? Home run. Like, my first bite was so similar to what I remember the real thing tasting like that I actually got a little grossed out for a second, forgetting I wasn’t chewing actual animal meat. There’s a real endorsement of their authenticity for you! (The sensation was short-lived, thankfully.)The texture and mouthfeel are spot-on: a little juicy, a little tender, a little chewy. The taste is enjoyable in an unremarkable kind of way. It’s mild, yummy, fatty, inoffensive, a little salty, chicken-y but not CHICKEN-Y. (That’s the great thing about trying to mimic a processed meat product like chicken nuggets, as opposed to, say, chicken breasts—the real stuff is already pretty removed from the bird in its natural state.) Overall, these nuggets are hard not to like, easy to keep popping, and begging to be dunked in ketchup or slathered in sriracha.Courtesy of Impossible FoodsWhat Impossible Chicken Nuggets are made ofOK, so what’s actually in these not-chicken nuggets?? Like the Impossible Burger, the first ingredient is good ol’ soy protein concentrate, which means these vegan little guys are packed with 13 grams of plant protein per serving. Unlike the Impossible Burger—which relies on a lab-grown version of the iron-rich heme molecule for its distinctive meaty flavor and red hue— there’s no fancy food chemistry or novel ingredients here.
There’s a nationwide ground turkey recall affecting two major brands due to possible foreign matter contamination, according to an alert from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Specifically, Butterball, LLC is recalling 14,107 pounds of ground turkey products that may contain pieces of blue plastic. The ground turkey recall affects products under the Butterball and Kroger brand names. The recalled products include batches of two-and-a-half-pound trays of Farm to Family Butterball All Natural Ground Turkey (93% lean, 7% fat) with a sell- or freeze-by date of October 18, 2021, and a timestamp between 2123 and 2302 printed on the package). The other products covered in the recall are three-pound trays of Kroger Ground Turkey (85% lean, 15% fat) with a sell- or freeze-by date of October 17, 2021, and a timestamp between 2314 and 2351 printed on the packageThe recalled products are also stamped with an “EST. P-7345” stamp located inside the USDA mark of inspection on the package, as well as a case code of 50211271. (The FSIS has photos of the labels on their website.) All of the recalled ground turkey was produced at the same establishment on September 28, 2021, and shipped to grocery stores and retailers across the country. The FSIS and Butterball first learned about the issue from consumers, who reported finding pieces of blue plastic in their ground turkey products. However, to date, there have been “no confirmed reports” of someone suffering an injury eating one of the recalled products. If you have one of the recalled products in your fridge or freezer, you can either throw it away or return it to the place of purchase. And if you think you ate ground turkey with pieces of plastic in it and aren’t feeling well, get in touch with a medical provider. Related:
Taking low doses of aspirin daily to promote heart health has long been common practice in the U.S. for older adults, but experts are now rethinking that strategy. This week the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidance recommending that most people over 40 don’t take preventive daily aspirin without their doctor’s recommendation—and that people over 60 avoid doing so altogether. The new draft guidelines from the USPSTF, an independent panel of experts whose conclusions help guide health policy and medical practice, are based on a growing body of evidence showing that, in many cases, the risk for bleeding from taking low-dose aspirin (100 mg or less) outweighs the small potential benefits. Those possible benefits may include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as heart attack and stroke. In response to this draft, the public can provide comments on it until November 8, 2021. The USPSTF will consider those comments and eventually post its final version of the new recommendations.This is a major departure from the task force’s previous stance on the effectiveness and safety of taking low-dose aspirin for heart health. In 2016 the USPSTF recommended that adults ages 50 to 59 with a 10% or greater 10-year CVD risk (but no history of CVD) start taking low-dose aspirin to lower their risk of CVD and colorectal cancer. They also said that for adults ages 60 to 69 who have an elevated risk for CVD, the decision to take daily aspirin should be an individual one made with their doctors. They also concluded at the time that, for people under age 50 and over age 70, there was insufficient evidence to make recommendations either way. Now the task force says that among adults ages 40 to 59 who have an elevated 10-year risk of developing CVD but no history of heart issues, the decision to begin taking low-dose daily aspirin to help prevent heart disease “should be an individual one.” The USPSTF can say with “moderate certainty” that doing so has only a “small net benefit,” according to the draft guidelines. (A person’s predicted odds of developing heart disease in the next 10 years is calculated using risk factors like their age, race, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and smoking status.)And for adults age 60 or older, the task force is now advising against the practice because the experts concluded, again with moderate certainty, that it has no net benefit. The new recommendations also pull back on another assumption, endorsed by the USPSTF in 2016, that low-dose aspirin reduces the risk of getting or dying from colorectal cancer—and now conclude that the evidence here is “inadequate.”To draw its conclusions, the USPSTF looked at the evidence from new randomized controlled trials, follow-up data analyses from long-term population studies of people taking aspirin to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease, and modeling data computed from findings of real-world studies. The experts not only evaluated whether the aspirin provided people with heart-health benefits but also weighed those benefits against the negative effects observed (such as the increased risk of bleeding) that can develop after long-term aspirin use.The task force found adequate evidence that low-dose preventive aspirin has a “small benefit” for reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in adults over age 40 who have no history of CVD but are at increased risk. The more likely it is for someone to have a CVD event in the next 10 years, the greater the benefit the aspirin is likely to have. However, the body of evidence also shows that aspirin does not lower the risk of death from CVD or other causes.
Anthony Fauci, M.D., addressed a question many parents might have as our second pandemic Halloween approaches: Should I let my kids go trick-or-treating? Dr. Fauci is happy to say it’s a go this year. “I think that—particularly if you’re vaccinated—you can get out there,” Dr. Fauci told CNN anchor Dana Bash during a State of the Union interview on Sunday. “You’re outdoors, for the most part,” Dr. Fauci pointed out, “at least when my children were out there doing trick-or-treating.” In addition to being an open-air activity (meaning the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 is much lower than during indoor gatherings), trick-or-treating is a major annual tradition for kids, who’ve already missed out on a lot of fun and normalcy during the pandemic. “Enjoy it. I mean, this is a time that children love,” Dr. Fauci said. “It’s a very important part of the year for children. I know my children enjoyed it.” He added that vaccinated people especially should “go out there and enjoy Halloween, as well as the other holidays that will be coming up.” Of course, trick-or-treating is much lower risk for unvaccinated younger kids if all of the adults around them are vaccinated. Dr. Fauci took the opportunity to encourage people who are not vaccinated yet to reconsider as we near the start of the holiday season. “If you’re not vaccinated, again, think about it—that you will add an extra degree of protection to yourself and your children and your family and your community. So it’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci said. Dr. Fauci’s endorsement shows how much progress we’ve made over the past year. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised skipping traditional trick-or-treating because it was considered a riskier activity involving close contact with people outside your immediate household. While the agency hasn’t offered particular guidance on how to safely celebrate Halloween this year, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., told CBS News in September that outdoor trick-or-treating was “absolutely” O.K. She recommended kids go in “small groups” and avoid big crowds.It’s also possible that by this Halloween, we will have the first COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for safe use in children under the age of 12, Dr. Fauci noted. Pfizer and BioNTech announced plans to apply for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their two-dose mRNA vaccine to be used in children ages 5 to 11 at the end of September. At the time, Dr. Fauci said he expected that the shot, which was authorized for use in kids ages 12 to 15 in May and received full approval for use in people over 16 in August, would get the O.K. in time for kids to start getting vaccinated “hopefully, before the end of October,” as SELF reported.The FDA committee that approves and authorizes vaccines is scheduled to discuss the potential use of the vaccine in younger kids in an upcoming October 26 meeting. Then, assuming the FDA grants the EUA, a committee at the CDC will review the evidence and make its recommendations. We don’t know how long that might take, but in May, after the FDA authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children ages 12 to 15, the CDC committee shared its recommendations only two days later. So whether or not kids are actually able to get their first shot in time for Halloween, it’s very likely that COVID-19 vaccines for kids will be available within a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy your Halloween candy and keep in mind that the best way to keep those under 12 safe is for everybody older than 12 to get vaccinated and take other common sense public health precautions.Related: