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Roughly 30 million children could be eligible if Pfizer vaccine approved for kids

Pfizer on Thursday officially asked the FDA for Emergency Authorization Approval to administer a scaled down dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

CLEVELAND — Doctors say it could be an early holiday gift for 30 million kids. That's how many five- to 11-year-old children could get Pfizer's COVID vaccine when the government signs off. 

Thursday the drug manufacturer announced it has officially asked for emergency use authorization from the FDA for that age group. 

“It's Christmas and in October now, which is fantastic,” said Dr. Purva Grover of Cleveland Clinic. “I think this is, this is long-awaited. This is something which we, as pediatricians, as parents have been waiting for a long time now.”

RELATED: When will COVID vaccines start for kids? Updated timeline after Pfizer's FDA request

“Within the next four to six weeks, we could be starting to vaccinate, you know, five- to 11-year-olds would be fantastic,” said Dr. Amy Edwards of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s

Pfizer suggests younger kids get one-third of the adult dose, which could result in fewer side effects. “It's not too much, it's not too little, it's just the right amount. Um, but the main ingredients are the same,” said Dr. Grover.

While some families are also celebrating, others aren't so sure.

Credit: WKYC
Data on the Pfizer vaccine and children.

The U.S. Census Bureau just released a household pulse study, asking more than 680-thousand Ohio households who are not planning to vaccinate older kids, why not. The results:

  • 76 percent concerned about side effects
  • 33 percent not sure if children need it
  • 50 percent waiting to see if the vaccine is safe
  • 25 percent who don’t trust the government
  • 1 percent who don’t believe in vaccination

Dr. Edwards says she believes parents need to do the math differently. Instead of comparing the vaccine to doing nothing, they need to compare the risks of the vaccine to the disease itself.

“So this idea that, that COVID can't damage children is completely wrong and I'm a little tired of hearing it to be very honest,” said Dr. Edwards. “It is true that kids are at lower risk, but lower risk does not equal no risk.”

RELATED: COVID shots for younger kids: Answering top questions parents may have

Dr. Grover points to the children in the ICU, or those with lingering effects. Cleveland Clinic has dedicated a special clinic to long haulers, including many children.

“I'm a parent and I understand the apprehensions,” said Dr. Grover. “I would say, go ahead, take the leap of faith. This is not something which has been done lighting. This is not something that has been rushed. This has been done with due diligence, and all the time has been taken to do it right.”