CNN  — 

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hopes children and teens won’t hesitate when the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes a coronavirus vaccine for them.

A federal government official told CNN on Monday that the FDA is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine in children and teens 12 to 15 years old by early next week, and administration of the vaccine to them could start almost immediately, said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“You have the capability of protecting yourself as a young person, 12 to 15, but also knowing that you’re not going to pass it on to someone else,” Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.

“You even want to call upon the young people to say, ‘I want to protect myself, but I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.’”

“It has a good safety profile, and it’s highly efficacious,” Fauci said. “That’s something that you shouldn’t walk away from.”

“That will immediately add millions of more people eligible for vaccination. I bet a lot of those kids will get vaccinated,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, told CNN. “That will make a big difference as well in terms of building up population immunity.”

Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children as young as 6 months old and expect to ask the FDA for EUAs covering infants and children later this year.

Lack of herd immunity may mean another virus surge, experts say

As health experts point to the challenges the nation faces in reaching herd immunity, some are warning of the danger of not getting there: another surge of coronavirus this winter.

Vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit reckons that 80% of the population needs to be immune to the virus in order to prevent that scenario.

“The proof will be in the pudding next winter,” Offit told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “If we don’t get there to 80%, then I think you’ll see another surge of this virus next winter.”

Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, said immunity could be achieved through a combination of vaccinations and natural infections.