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NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.

  • The sooner children have a vaccine, the sooner schools and child care can go back to normal, which will greatly ease the burden on millions of parents.

What he's saying: Fauci noted that some companies have already begun trials assessing whether the vaccines are safe for children.

  • "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," Fauci said. "And very likely, the first quarter of 2022."
  • Fauci added that high school kids should be able to get the vaccine "sometime this fall. I'm not sure it'll exactly be on the first day that school opens, but pretty close to that."

Go deeper

Feb 27, 2021 - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Feb 27, 2021 - World

Italy tightens COVID restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants

Health workers prepare vaccine doses in Iseo, Italy. Photo: Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.