On Thursday, Pfizer asked the government to approve the COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 5 to 11.
Kids 12 and up were able to get the shot earlier this year.
“I have a 6-year-old who will be eligible and I will be one of the first people knocking on the door to give her her COVID vaccine,” said Ellie Millan, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Medical Director at Mosaic Medical Pediatrics.
According to the Bend La Pine Schools website, more than 100 COVID cases were reported at elementary schools in the last 28 days.
In Redmond, there are currently 30 active COVID cases for elementary schools.
“We’ve seen a dramatically increased rate of COVID infections in the pediatric population,” said Millan.
Officials believe vaccinating younger children can help slow the spread of COVID among classmates and outside the classroom.
New diseases post-COVID, like Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has pediatricians worried.
“I have had two patients myself with MIS-C. It’s a really serious condition. Children often need to be life-flighted up to Portland and spend time in the pediatric ICU,” said Millan, “It’s a consequence of COVID-19 that’s unique to the pediatric population.”
For children who get vaccinated, the shot may also mean less time away from school.
The quarantine is reduced for those who get the shot, not for those who are “eligible” for the shot.
“Right now, kids 12 and over who are fully vaccinated don’t have to quarantine if they’re a close contact of a positive case in school. I presume that will also be the case for kids 5-11, so those who choose vaccination for their children could have the added benefit and would cut down on our quarantine numbers,” said Sheila Miller, Redmond School District’s Public Information Officer.
If approved, the Pfizer vaccine will be available for kids in that age group within a matter of weeks.