TEXAS — With school in full swing, many parents and pediatricians are clamoring for COVID protection for children younger than 12. That's the current age cutoff for the vaccine.

But last week, Pfizer asked federal officials to authorize its shot for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Should the company be approved for emergency use, kids could soon begin receiving a reduced dose of the vaccine.

Dr. Michael Chang, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UTHealth Houston, anticipates those children will be getting the vaccine by the first week of November and says it can’t come soon enough.  

“Even though the risk for kids to be severely ill or hospitalized is lower than what we see in adults, these vaccines will provide another tool for us to minimize the risk for these kids and hopefully prevent additional impacts and long-term complications from COVID illness in the 5 to 11 patients,” he said.

Dr. Chang says it will also mean fewer disruptions to schools.

“The more children we can get vaccinated, the less likely they’re going to have severe illness, be hospitalized," he said. "Hopefully it reduces transmission. Hopefully it reduces infection overall and what we’ll see is less disruption to school, less quarantine, less isolation, hopefully less positive tests. And basically allowing our kids to go to school, enjoy their extra-curricular activities with less impact so that we can encourage their full social development, which has really been impacted during this pandemic."

Click the video link above to watch the full interview with Dr. Chang.