By Annie Rose Ramos

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Pfizer said its COVID vaccine is safe and effective for children five to 11 years old.

The company said it will seek emergency use authorization and shots could be available as soon as Halloween.

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The news is a ray of hope for some parents with younger children. Children now account for one in four new cases and the Delta variant is sending more kids into the hospital than at any other time in this pandemic.

“Anything that’s going to protect the children is always gonna be good news for me,” said Alexis, a parent of two children under the age of five.

Pfizer used a smaller dose of the vaccine for children in their trial and found it to be “safe and well-tolerated, resulting in robust neutralizing antibody responses,” according to a statement from the company released Monday.

Now, it will send their results to the FDA and other regulatory agencies for vaccine approval.

“If the FDA looks at this data and feels confident that it demonstrates this vaccine is safe and effective for children five to 11, you could have a vaccine within a month to 6 weeks,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner.

And it’s not a moment too soon.

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“So many parents are waiting exactly for this news, especially given what’s happening now with the Delta variant…..there have been nearly half a million new cases in children in the last two weeks,” said Dr. Lena Wen, Public Health Professor at George Washington University.

Many parents are now breathing a sigh of relief, like Wiley.

“Anything is better than nothing,” he said, who plans to give his son the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

But for Christina, another parent, this trial doesn’t provide enough evidence. “I’m not giving my kids the vaccine,” she said. “Because I don’t feel like it’s been fully tested.”

The vaccine has already been approved for children 12 years old and older but as cases surge among younger children, Doctor Aziza Shad the Chair of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital At Sinai said a vaccine will keep kids out of the hospital

“Having a vaccine that’s approved by the end of the year could prevent so many children from getting really sick from COVID in the early parts of next year,” said Dr. Shad.

If the regulatory review with the FDA goes anything as it did for adults and older kids, which took about a month, millions of children could begin receiving their shot around Halloween.

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Despite that, it is unlikely children younger than five will be eligible for the vaccine before the end of the year.

Annie Rose Ramos