COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pfizer is seeking emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages six months to 5 years old.

Dr. Chris Peltier, president-elect of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said it’s good news every time Pfizer adds another eligible age group, but he said this one is especially important.

What You Need To Know

  • Peltier said children have much weaker immune systems, and being in environments like day care can make them more susceptible to infections

  • A parent of three children said many day cares have had to shut down because of the virus

  • Peltier said it could take up to a month for the FDA to review the data

“Being in day care, their immune systems are still fairly immature, so they’re at bigger risk for developing multiple infections at the same time,” Peltier said.

Since the pandemic started, there have been 11.5 million pediatric cases of COVID-19 across the country.  When it comes to individual states, Ohio ranks fifth.

The national numbers include 800,000 new pediatric cases during the week of Jan. 21-27, which makes up about a quarter of the total cases during that time period.

“By far in the last few weeks, we’ve seen more and more younger children under the age of five who have gotten COVID," Peltier said.

Khrista Achtermann, the director of Population Health Services at Central Ohio Primary Care, has three children ages 12, 5 and 2. 

“We’ve had several day care shut downs,” said Achtermann.

Two of her children are vaccinated, but her youngest is not eligible yet. That’s why she’s excited to hear about Pfizer filing for emergency use authorization.

“Just having that extra protection, knowing if there's an exposure the quarantine processes can change a little bit,” said Achtermann.

Right now, Pfizer is asking the FDA to approve a two-dose COVID-19 regimen, with data for a potential third dose in the works. 

“I think the hope is if Pfizer submits today, the FDA can begin to review that data to at least get the first two doses approved and if their needs to be a third dose, as that data rolls in they can add that,” said Peltier.

He said it could take up to a month for the FDA to review that data.​