TAMPA, Fla. — It's been one month since school started in the Bay area and a lot of the focus has been on COVID-19 case numbers and mask mandates.

But a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for kids ages 5 to 11 might come soon.

What You Need To Know

That could have an impact on masks debates, staff shortages, and the number of COVID cases in local schools.

In Hillsborough County schools, there has been more than 9,000 cases since the first day.  

But health officials say a vaccine could be available for kids soon.

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is on Pfizer's board and Dr. James Versalovic is helping run children's trials.

Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS’ face the nation that a vaccine available to children ages 5 to 11 could be ready by Halloween.

Clinical trials are ongoing.

In the meantime, the FDA has made it clear parents need to wait on the formal authorization, saying "Children are not small adults" and "the vaccine doses that are currently being studied in younger children are not necessarily the same vaccine doses" that have been approved for other age groups.

But officials said once the relevant portion is complete, it will work with the manufacturers to analyze the data and then the manufacturer can submit for emergency use authorization.

After that, the FDA will evaluate benefits and risks.

That process could just take a matter of weeks, officials said.