ST. LOUIS — COVID-19 vaccines could be available for children ages 5-11 as soon as next week.
This comes on the heels of an FDA advisory panel voting to recommend the shot for children five and up.
The committee accepted Pfizer's data showing the vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective in this age group.
A CDC committee will be meeting on Nov. 2 to see if kids in this age group can officially get the vaccine under an Emergency Use Authorization.
"The benefits outweigh the risks," Lucia Schillinger says on the COVID-19 vaccine for her kids. "I think kids in that age group vaccinated overall is a step in the right direction."
Two out of her three kids are in the 5-11 age bracket.
If her doctor recommends it, she's ready to roll up their sleeves.
She tells 5 On Your Side, "It's worth it to do!"
She knows what COVID-19 could bring.
While children are at lower risk of severe COVID, data shows the 5-11 age group still faced more than 8,300 hospitalizations nationwide.
94 children have died, making it the eighth leading cause of death in this age group across the country.
Dr. Hilary Babcock, Infectious Disease Specialist at Washington University and BJC says, "It's not like they are 100% safe if they do get COVID."
She notes kids can also get long COVID and all of this could potentially be avoided if they're vaccinated.
Dr. Maya Moody is a Mercy pediatrician and the Vice President of Missouri's Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.
She explains they've been prepping and communicating with about 1,000 pediatrician members across the state.
"We've been working to develop tool kits, vaccination strategies, and workflows in the office. We've been working to make sure that our members are ready to get this vaccine for our patients and families," Moody explains.
She points out, we should expect the rollout to be on a smaller scale.
"A big commotion of a larger vaccine setting could be unnerving for some children and want to make this a positive experience. Kids are different, they aren’t little adults, so we want to make sure that we have that pediatric expertise for the families," she notes.
Dr. Babcock agrees and adds, "It will be more available in your pediatrician's office, through public health, through pharmacies. Schools are also working with health departments in other partners to make vaccinations available in school."
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Carl with the Hancock Place School District tells 5 On Your Side some schools will host clinics for this age group, but this will depend on the school.
Dr. Carl says they've already sent out a survey asking parents if they'd want a clinic on campus.
If the CDC follows suit on Nov. 2, which they are expected to, shots could begin as soon as a day later.
It would expand eligibility to 28 million kids in the U.S.
"Having as many people vaccinated before the holiday season is important. The more people are vaccinated, the quicker we’ll get there," Dr. Babcock emphasizes.