Dr Anthony Fauci has said that vaccinated parents still need to be careful about allowing their unvaccinated children to play with others.
Speaking to CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday, Dr Fauci said that "children can clearly wind up getting infected", if they play with other kids despite their parents being vaccinated.
He added that "when the children go out into the community, you want them to continue to wear masks when they're interacting with groups from multiple households".
Dr Fauci has said that he expects that kids in elementary school probably won't be vaccinated until early next year, with high schoolers hopefully starting to get the jab this autumn.
He told NBC's Meet the Press on 28 February: "If you project realistically when we'll get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, I would think that would be, at the earliest, the end of the year. And very likely, the first quarter of 2022."
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In terms of high school students getting vaccinated, he said it will probably happen "sometime this fall. I'm not sure it'll exactly be on the first day that school opens, but pretty close to that".
He told CBS’s Face The Nation that sending kids to summer camps and allowing them to play on playgrounds was an "aspirational goal that we should go for". But he added that "we don't know ... for sure" that it will be possible this summer.
Dr Fauci emphasised the importance of vaccinations to move towards normalcy, saying: "We now have three to 3.5 million vaccinations each day. If we keep up at that pace, invariably, that's going to drive the rate and the level of infections per day to a much, much lower level.
"If we get into the summer and you have a considerable percentage of the population vaccinated and the level in the community gets below that plateau that's worrying me and my colleagues in public health, it is conceivable that you would have a good degree of flexibility during the summer."
He also said that if all the adults are vaccinated, you can have people over without masks and social distancing.
Dr Fauci has been warning that the country is plateauing at high levels of infections. He said it was "because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods" that several states have done. He called the moves of these states "premature".
He said: "When you're coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau, you're really in danger of a surge coming up. And, unfortunately, that's what we're starting to see.
"We got stuck at around fifty thousand new cases per day, went up to sixty thousand the other day. And that's really a risk."
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