NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Last week the Biden administration announced COVID-19 vaccines will be an option for children as young as 5 years old after the Center For Disease Control authorizes Pfizer’s shot. And it could be available in North Texas for emergency use in physicians offices, schools and other trusted providers soon.

The Texas Department Of State Health Services is holding a news conference on October 25 to lay out its plan.

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Pfizer said its children’s vaccine is ⅓ of what adults receive and is 90% effective in 5-11 year olds.

With school back in session and the rise of the delta variant, COVID-19 cases among children are surging. Doctors at Cook Children’s are seeing more kids for COVID now than they did last winter.

While children typically have milder symptoms from COVID-19 infection, they can become very ill and require hospitalization. In rare cases, life-saving measures such as ventilators and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which oxygenates a patient’s blood outside of the body, have to be used on young COVID-19 patients. Children can also experience long-term symptoms of COVID-19, a diagnosis known as ‘long COVID,’ as well as a disease called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). Both of these syndromes can occur weeks after a COVID-19 infection in which the child may or may not have shown any symptoms.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the administration of off-label COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 11 and younger, who currently have no available vaccine.

“The clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 11 years old and younger are underway, and we need to see the data from those studies before we give this vaccine to younger children,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP. “The dose may be different for younger ages. The AAP recommends against giving the vaccine to children under 12 until authorized by the FDA.”

The FDA meets to discuss vaccinating kids under 12 on Oct. 26. Then, a CDC panel meets Nov. 2 and 3. A final recommendation from the CDC is expected soon after.

Moderna hopes to have its research done by the end of the year to receive authorization for children 6 and 11 years of age.

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CBSDFW.com Staff