By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s an exciting development that parents have been waiting for in the fight against COVID-19.

Pfizer has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization to use its vaccine in children ages 5-11.

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As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, Pfizer already has authorization to give its vaccine to children ages 12 and up. While it is true that children rarely become severely ill from COVID-19, the Delta variant hospitalized 30,000 kids in August, and 125 died.

The chief of pediatric critical care at Northwell Cohen Children’s Hospital has witnessed it in person.

“Kids do get quite ill. We’ve had over, I think, 600 or 700 kids so far in the country have died from COVID. In my ICU, alone, we’ve had many children who, who have been in the ICU specifically for COVID-related illness,” Dr. James Schneider said.

COVID VACCINE

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That’s why public health experts, school administrators and parents welcomed the news that the FDA says it has already scheduled a meeting for Oct. 26 to consider authorization.

“The Pfizer mRNA vaccine for children ages 5-11 years will be a third of the adult dose, which makes sense to me, because we know children have a robust immune response and they’re much smaller than adults,” said Dr. Jennifer Lighter of NYU Langone Health.

The lower dose should also reduce any side effects from the vaccine. Experts say the vaccine does more than protect the child.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“We know most transmissions of COVID occur in the home. So when a child gets protected, the members of that home get protected. And then the community gets protected as well. Anyone that surrounds that child is also protected from transmission,” Lighter said.

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There are more than 28 million children in the U.S. ages 5-11. If the FDA moves quickly, a vaccine for them could be authorized between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Dr. Max Gomez