LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon.

Experts around Louisville said Monday it could be four to six weeks that children in the age group begin getting vaccinated. 

"This is an important next step," said Dr. Robert Kuhn, a pharmacy professor and member of the pediatric faculty at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital and the College of Pharmacy.  "What this shows is the company has sealed their data, evaluated their data and is preparing to send that to the FDA."

Kuhn said this step is encouraging. For more information on the process, click here.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital has been studying COVID-19 vaccines in several age groups including children 5 to 11 years old. Dr. Robert Frenck is the director of the Gamble Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s and principal site investigator for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials at the medical center.

"It's possible, I think, that a vaccine could be available for children 5 years of age and above somewhere from the middle of October to the end part of October," Frenck said Monday. 

He said the Pfizer vaccine dose for this age group would be about one-third of the dose given to the older age groups. According to Frenck, this smaller dose in young children provided the same immune response with less side effects.

"Even though the risk to any individual child is very low for getting COVID and getting severe COVID, it's not zero," Frenck said. "And so that's why I really strongly recommend that every child receive vaccines against COVID, because I want to keep kids in school, I want to keep kids healthy, I want to keep them able to do their activities and everything in the United States and the world get back to normal."

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to those 12 years old and older.

A second U.S. vaccine maker, Moderna, also is studying its shots in elementary school-aged children. Pfizer and Moderna are studying even younger children as well, down to 6 month olds. Results are expected later in the year.

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