Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on Saturday answered questions from kids who are concerned about the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the newly-released vaccines. The question and answer session was part of a CNN special with Sesame Street dubbed "The ABCs of COVID-19."
One of the first questions the NIAID head received was if the coronavirus vaccine would "help the world get better" so things could get back to normal.
"Is the shot a big needle or a little needle?" seven-year-old Cameron asked. "And is it in your arm or will it hurt?"
"And we also want to know: will the shot help everything go back to normal so we can play with our friends again?" nine-year-old Skylar asked.
"First of all, let me start with the one that seems to bother children the most: you know, the vaccine shot is in the arm," he explained. "It's a pinch but the pinch lasts really a short time, literally in seconds. And I'll bet you that after you get vaccinated, when vaccines become available for children, you're going to say, 'You know, it wasn't that bad at all.' Guarantee it."
Fauci explained that the goal of the vaccine is to "get rid of COVID-19 completely." He emphasized the need for the majority of the American public to get the coronavirus vaccine.
"Once you get the overwhelming majority of people vaccinated, the level of the virus is going to go down and down and down," the NIAID head stated. "And then it's going to turn out to be no problem."
Fauci told the children they'll be able to "hug," "kiss," and play with others once a "broad" number of people in the country receive the vaccine. He said his hope is that over the next several months more people will receive the vaccine as it becomes available.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who received his first dose of the vaccine, reassured kids that the injection didn't hurt. He said it was over before he even realized it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci tells kids that the Covid-19 vaccine is just a little “pinch.”— CNN (@CNN) December 19, 2020
CNN’s @drsanjaygupta, who got an @Elmo bandage when he received his shot, agrees, saying that “it really didn’t hurt a bit.” https://t.co/icV04F4FNW #CNNSesameStreet pic.twitter.com/DK8PupzTrm
One child asked Dr. Fauci whether or not kids still have to wear face masks when visiting grandparents if the grandparents received the vaccine.
"Well, if your grandparents get [the vaccine], you still need to be careful and wear a mask because, until we get this blanket of protection over everyone, you can't be absolutely certain that there isn't virus there," he said. "So, vaccines are extremely important to ending this outbreak but until we get the full component of almost everyone vaccinated, we can't abandon the common public health measures of wearing a mask."
"So, yes, you should still be wearing a mask," Fauci told the young girl.
Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why kids should still wear their masks to protect themselves from Covid-19, even if other family members get vaccinated first. https://t.co/icV04F4FNW #CNNSesameStreet pic.twitter.com/NAttVFoZFt— CNN (@CNN) December 19, 2020
Eight-year-old Lucy from California asked Dr. Fauci how Santa received the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine and whether or not it is safe for him to "go in the house."
Nine-year-old Connor from New Jersey wanted to know "how Santa Claus can safely deliver presents with COVID-19 spreading everywhere. How can he do it?"
Six-year-old Paxton from Illinois asked if Santa will still pay a visit even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
"What if he can't go to anyone's house or near his reindeer?" Paxton asked.
A smiling Dr. Fauci reassured kids it would be safe for Santa to pay a visit on Christmas.
"Well, I have to say, I took care of that for you," the NIAID head stated. "I was worried you all would be upset. So what I did a little while ago, I took a trip up there to the North Pole. I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. I measured his level of immunity and he is good to go!"
"He can come down the chimney, he can leave the presents, he can leave and you have nothing to worry about," Fauci explained. "Santa Claus is good to go!"
Santa Claus will be coming to town this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci says.— CNN (@CNN) December 19, 2020
“I took care of that for you,” he says. “…I took a trip up there to the North Pole; I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. I measured his level of immunity, and he is good to go.” #CNNSesameStreet pic.twitter.com/CNJ520XTew