Looking to partake in Halloween festivities this year? Celebrate outdoors, limit crowds and trick-or-treat in small groups, says Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Oh gosh I certainly hope so," Walensky told CBS’ Face the Nation, when prompted whether it was safe for kids to trick-or-treat this year. "If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely. Limit crowds, I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups and I hope that we can do that this year."
Walensky’s comments come as children under 12 remain ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine, though Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday the company is "days, not weeks" away from submitting trial data to the FDA in a bid to expand use among kids ages 5-11, and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb has anticipated the age group could become eligible for vaccine by Halloween. Recent findings suggested the shot was safe and effective in elementary school-aged kids at a lower dose, 10 microgram (µg) versus the 30 µg dose for individuals ages 12 and older.
"Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination," Bourla wrote in part in a release posted on Sept. 20. "These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency."
Last year, COVID-related precautions and gathering limits resulted in canceled Halloween events across 37 states, USA Today reported, while the CDC had discouraged Americans from participating in traditional trick-or-treating and indoor costume parties. The health agency last year advised trick-or-treaters against wearing a costume mask as a replacement for their virus-related mask or in addition to one.
"Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," the CDC said in a previous advisory, adding that anyone who may have COVID-19--or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19--should not partake in any in-person activities during the holiday.
Fox News’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.