DALLAS - Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids ages 5 through 11.
The company says tested at a much lower dose, antibodies produced in the younger age group were similar to those found in teens and adults.
The company plans on asking for emergency use authorization from the FDA by the end of the month.
Younger kids are at a lower risk of getting sick from the virus, but almost 500 kids under 12 have died from COVID-19.
FILE - Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at a senior living facility in Worcester, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.
Pediatricians and one Dallas mom who had her kids in vaccine trials are ecstatic.
Anna Benefiel is excited Pfizer announced trials showing its vaccine is safe and well-tolerated for children 5 to 11.
"As a mom, I’m just so proud," she said. "This is a day I've been waiting for for two years."
Benefiel put her two girls, 9 and 7, in vaccine trials.
"We actually tried to get in both Pfizer or Moderna, whichever would let us kind of get in line first to try and help. And Moderna called us first," she said.
The Pfizer vaccine is already available for anyone 12 and up. It was first to report out findings in adolescent trials.
Dallas pediatrician Dr. Yolande Pengetnze says especially with kids back in school, the 5- to 11-year-old population needs protection.
"Infections among this age group have been staggering," she said. "We've had 125,000 plus infections among students in Texas only since the beginning of this school year."
For the elementary-age children, Pfizer tested a significantly lower dose: only one-third of the amount in each shot given now.
The drugmaker says after a second dose, young kids developed the same amount of immunity as those over 12 and young adults.
Dr. Christina Johns is senior medical advisor for PM Pediatrics, the largest pediatric urgent care network in the U.S.
"Let's wait and see what the hard data looks like. That’s how we lean into the science to make sure that we are making an accurate conclusion," she said. "But from everything that we have seen with the 12- to 15-year-olds, that worked out very well. I don’t anticipate that it will be much different with this younger age group."
Benefiel hopes to get her 2-year-old in the next clinical test.
Am I worried at all that there's a risk to my children? No," she said. Because I think the riNorsk is from the COVID virus, not the vaccine."
Pfizer plans to ask the FDA for authorization in the next few weeks. Once it turns over its study data to the FDA, it could take a few more weeks for the administration to decide whether shots are safe and effective enough for younger kids.