AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas is getting ready to receive more than 1.3 million doses of Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine in the coming week.

The Department of State Health Services rolled out its plan to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 Monday afternoon, Oct. 25.

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There are 2.9 million children in Texas in that age group who could soon be eligible to receive Pfizer’s pediatric shot, which is a smaller dose and a different formula that what’s currently being offered to adolescents and adults.

Once the vaccine receives emergency authorization, shipments will be headed to pharmacies, pediatricians’ offices, county health departments, and school districts across the state. Providers were able to start pre-ordering doses for kids last week.

“As of right now, 814 Texas providers in 120 counties will be receiving the Pfizer pediatric vaccine in the first three waves of vaccine shipping,” said DSHS Associate Commissioner of Laboratory & Infectious Disease Services Imelda Garcia.

An FDA panel is expected to review the data Tuesday and endorse emergency authorization.

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The CDC isn’t scheduled to take this up until next week. If they recommend the Pfizer shot for younger children, it could be available shortly after that.

“We are actively working across all of our state partners in order to make sure that the vaccine rollout for this new age group will go smoothly,” Garcia said.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been steadily declining in Texas the past few weeks.

Public health experts say offering the vaccine to younger kids sooner rather than later is important to help prevent another surge in the spring, when overall immunity could start waning.

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“So the critical thing is that by next spring, we want a lot of kids to be vaccinated, but based on our estimates, we don’t see a big danger until then in terms of like again cases spiking really high,” said Rajesh Nandy, professor of biophysics and epidemiology at the UNT Health Science Center.

Caroline Vandergriff