MILWAUKEE— With health care providers, schools and pharmacies across Wisconsin now ready to start vaccinating younger children against COVID-19, experts are warning parents not to wait a few weeks before setting up an appointment for their child or children.

"The vaccine, based on the study that was conducted by Pfizer, the vaccine is found to be safe and effective for children in this age group from 5 to 11," Mo Kharbat, Vice President of Pharmacy with SSM Health Wisconsin, told Spectrum News 1 Wednesday. "My advice to parents is to get their kids vaccinated— the sooner, the better— because it's two doses, and then people will develop enough immunity to be fully protected two weeks after the second dose, so it will take several weeks between now and the time they get that protection, so the sooner they start, the better."

Pfizer gained the final necessary approval late Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its scaled-down COVID-19 vaccine dosage for younger children, and many healthcare providers already had their first doses "in house" and ready to go by Wednesday.

Kharbat reiterated that protecting kids as quickly as possible is essential, despite statistics showing that younger kids have historically dealt with the fewest complications tied to COVID-19.

"What we've seen recently is that COVID with the Delta variant can cause serious illness in kids in this age group," Kharbat added. "Across the country, we saw more than 8,000 hospital admissions in this age group alone [so far]."

You can watch the entire interview above.