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How soon could FDA approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for 5 to 11 year olds?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics says children now account for 29% of all new COVID-19 cases nationwide.

But some kids younger than 12 might be eligible to get vaccinated by Halloween.

"In August the 0 to 17 age group was by far the highest age group for new cases of COVID. That seems to be down just a little bit in September but it's still the highest group," Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said.

"We're seeing a ton of patients from young kids all the way through high school that are coming in with symptoms and that are positive for COVID-19," Dr. Kristen Frane of Fort Wayne Pediatrics said.

Frane says as a physician it's challenging to see young patients in that situation.

Doctors we talked to said they're eagerly waiting to see results from Pfizer's COVID-19 trial in kids ages five to 11.

"Not only because we feel a little bit helpless sometimes with our patients. We can't prevent their illness yet, but also because we have so many frustrated parents, so many frustrated educators. A lot of our parents are coming to us concerned, they're coming to us scared, they're coming to us sometimes okay," she said.

She says she talks with parents about all vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine at wellness and illness visits, and says it's exciting that Pfizer is nearing the end of its clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine for children five to 11 years old.

"Having a vaccine available for our children 12 and above has been really helpful. We know that it's been preventative. And having the potential of having a vaccine for those younger is hopeful. It gives us hope," Frane said.

Health commissioner Sutter says he's hopeful the transition to vaccinating younger children will work as well as it did from adults to older kids.

"They had a really good immune response, very low rate of adverse effects, and it really is very effective in that age group. It's likely that will also be true in five to 11, but we've got to see the data," he said.

While clinical trials are still underway, Pfizer's CEO confirms that data from its vaccine for five- to 11-year-olds should be submitted to the FDA by the end of September.

The FDA is expected to review that information and make a decision a few weeks later.

Pfizer is also working with vaccine data for children as young as six months old, saying that data will be available to the FDA in about six weeks, and hopes the agency will approve those doses by Thanksgiving.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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