Despite the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines, not all Halloween parades have been safe from virus-related cancellations this year.
In Westchester County, New York, for example, the Tarrytown Halloween Parade was canceled out of concern, the organizers said, for “our most precious attendees, our children,” many of whom are not yet eligible for vaccines. And in nearby Rockland County, Nyack’s Halloween parade was canceled, too. The National Zoo also canceled its popular Boo at the Zoo because it didn’t feel it could keep visitors or animals safe from the virus.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, came to the defense of the mask-friendly holiday during a CNN interview Sunday, saying that outdoor trick-or-treating was perfectly safe.
“It’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to get vaccinated,” he said, urging those who were eligible for coronavirus shots to get them before Halloween to protect themselves and their children. “But go out there and enjoy Halloween.”
He said that the ability for parents to get vaccinated, combined with the low risk of the virus spreading outdoors, offered some reassurance.
“This is a time that children love,” Fauci said. “It’s a very important part of the year for children.”
The Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in May. Since then, more than 8.2 million children in that age group have received at least one dose, and more than 6.7 million have been fully vaccinated.
Pfizer and BioNTech asked federal regulators last week to authorize their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a move that could help protect more than 28 million people in the United States. Shots are not expected to be available to that group before the beginning of November.
Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. are currently falling, prompting hope that the wave caused by the delta variant is ebbing. But Fauci warned Sunday that enough people remained unvaccinated to allow the virus to rebound during the colder months.