People.com Lifestyle Health Dr. Fauci Says He Won't See His Kids for Christmas, Urges Americans to Make Same 'Painful' Choice "Make the choice and keep yourself and your family healthy so that you'll have many more Christmases ahead of you," Dr. Fauci said By Eric Todisco Published on December 17, 2020 10:40 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Dr. Anthony Fauci. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock Dr. Anthony Fauci is keeping his Christmas gathering small this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and he's urging other Americans to do the same. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, said in a recent interview with The Washington Post's "Power Up" newsletter that he and his wife, Christine Grady, are not seeing their three adult daughters — Megan, Alison and Jennifer — on Christmas for the first time since their births. “I'm going to be with my wife — period,” Fauci, 79, said. “The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home … That's painful. We don't like that. But that's just one of the things you're going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time.” With the U.S. experiencing record-number cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations, Fauci pleaded for Americans to take the necessary precautions during the holidays. “Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household," he said. "This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we're already in a very difficult situation, and we're going to make it worse, if we don't do something about it." Dr. Anthony Fauci. Shutterstock Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is an "unusual situation," Fauci went on to note that "it's not going to last forever." "It is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas," he said. "So make the choice and keep yourself and your family healthy so that you'll have many more Christmases ahead of you." Dr. Fauci Reveals Daughter’s Boyfriend's Brother, 32, Died After Contracting COVID: 'Very Sad' On Monday, the first Americans were inoculated with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine after the two-dose vaccine was approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last Friday. The first vaccine went to one of the people with the highest need: an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York City, one of the hospitals that was hit the hardest by COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. Over time, millions more will receive Pfizer's vaccine. Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images Sandra Lindsay, the first person in the U.S. to receive a vaccine. MARK LENNIHAN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock FDA Approves At-Home COVID-19 Test That Works for Children Over 2 and Doesn't Require Prescription Prior to the vaccine's FDA approval, Fauci said that the majority of Americans who wish to get vaccinated should be able to by April or May of next year. "By the time we get to April, we would likely have taken care of all the high priority and then the general population — the normal, healthy young man or woman, 30 years old that has no underlying conditions — can walk into a CVS or to a Walgreens and get vaccinated," he told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an interview on Nov. 30. Fauci added, "I would think as we get to April and May that we likely would have, for those who want to get vaccinated, the overwhelming majority of the people that want to get vaccinated." In the U.S alone, there have been more than 17 million cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to data from The New York Times. More than 307,000 people have died from the virus. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.