COVID-19 vaccine for younger children could be a game-changer for schools

On Sept. 20, Pfizer officials stated its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages five to 11, and that it will seek U.S. authorization for that age group soon, which marks a key step towards the start of vaccinating youngsters against the disease.

The dose for young kids is about a third of the amount that's given to adults. Pfizer says kids in the trial had fewer side effects. Pfizer officials will be handing over data by the end of month, in hopes of receiving emergency use authorization. 

Educators, doctors react

The new developments could be a game changer, especially in schools. Some health officials and educators are hoping parents are open to vaccinating their young ones if the shot gets the greenlight from the FDA.

'We really should see this as something to celebrate. It's good news," said Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas.

Thomas says progress is being made.

"When we have so many disruptions to the school year - Any teacher in any week may have five to 15 students out of their classroom, or the teacher themselves may be out of the classroom - it might slow down some of those disruptions and allow us to keep our children in our classroom, which is where everybody want them. We know that's where they learn the best."

COVID-19 takes toll on children

Since the start of the pandemic, more than five million children in the U.S. Have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 460 kids have died due to the virus.

"Arizona, at least two weeks ago, has the greatest of number of children who have passed away from COVID compared to the other 49 states, and I know right now that our incidence is one of the highest in terms of the amount of children getting COVID," said Dr. Jacqueline Carter.

Dr. Carter, who is a pediatrician, says things are usually slower in her office around this time of the year, but it has been the opposite in recent weeks.

"We have a lot more children who have symptoms and coming in to be tested, a lot more children that have symptoms," said Dr. Carter.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 Vaccination (In Spanish/En Español)