WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday predicted that U.S. health regulators will end the temporary pause on distributing Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, adding he expects a decision could come as soon as Friday.
“My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form. I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
U.S. health regulators recommended last week that use of the J&J vaccine be paused after reports of six cases of rare brain blood clots in women, out of some 7 million people who have received the shot in the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel is set to meet on April 23 to discuss the next steps for the vaccine.
Fauci said he does not know what the final decision will be, but he predicts there will be a resumption.
“I don’t know if there have been further cases. We will know that by Friday, and I would be very surprised … if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday. A decision almost certainly will be made by Friday,” Fauci said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Fauci on Sunday also laid out a possible timeline for when children could be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I would be surprised if we didn’t have the high school kids being able to be vaccinated by the fall term,” he told CBS. “I think by the time we get to the first quarter of 2022, we will be able to vaccinate children of virtually any age – hopefully before then,” he added.
“But I think that’s going to be the latest we’ll see it.”
(Reporting by Sarah N. LynchEditing by David Goodman and Nick Zieminski)