Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking Sunday on ABC’s "This Week," said people who are vaccinated can enjoy trick-or-treating on Halloween and family gatherings for the holiday season, especially as health officials are expected to approve vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 in early November.
"If you’re vaccinated and your family members are vaccinated ….you can enjoy the holidays. You can enjoy Halloween, trick-or-treating, and certainly Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas with your family," said Fauci, the pandemic adviser to President Biden.
"That’s one of the reasons why we emphasized why it’s so important to get vaccinated, not only for your own safety, for that of your family, but also for the good of the community, to keep the level of infection down. When you do that, there’s no reason at all why you can’t enjoy the holidays in a family way, the way we’ve traditionally done it all along."
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday the state was making progress.
"Booster shots are underway, and we are laying the groundwork for getting our kids vaccinated pending final federal approval," she said in a statement.
Six Long Islanders lost their lives to the virus on Saturday — one in Nassau and five in Suffolk — statistics released Sunday by state officials show.
Figures also showed Nassau County registered 250 new daily cases in test results from Saturday, while Suffolk County had 359.
The seven-day average for positivity in testing for COVID-19 also continued to hover just below 3%, registering 2.69% for Long Island. The statewide average was 2.45%.
On Saturday, 4,204 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 statewide, bringing the total to 2,485,111.
Meanwhile, Fauci called the FDA’s recent approval of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster a "very good thing" because data shows that vaccine likely "should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with."
Federal health authorities will look into whether people who got the Johnson &Johnson first shot should get a booster of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines after lab data showed doing so boosted antibody levels, compared to those found after just one Johnson & Johnson dose, Fauci said.
But the decision of what type of booster shot to get will depend on health recommendations and particular individual’s situations, Fauci said. Women of childbearing age, who would "have almost no issues at all" from myocarditis -- inflammation of the heart muscle that is a rare side effect of such mRNA vaccines -- might want to opt for the Pfizer or Moderna booster, Fauci said.
However, "If you’re a young man who does have that very, very rare risk of getting myocarditis, you might want to take the J&J route," Fauci said.
The risk of myocarditis is low, statistics show. In the United States in June, approximately 296 million doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines had been administered, and just 1,226 cases of myocarditis were reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials are also looking to Israel, which rolled out vaccines earlier, for data on when to recommend boosters for those who got the Moderna vaccine.
"The data we’re starting to see from Israel indicates that even in the somewhat younger group, for example, from 40 to 60, there’s a real benefit in getting the booster shot," Fauci said.