CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The country is one step closer to getting the COVID-19 vaccine to children who are between the ages of 5 and 11.
On Friday, the FDA said children in that age range could receive two lower doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to meet on Tuesday to give a more detailed recommendation. After that, the CDC director is expected to give the green light.
Chesapeake Health Department leaders said they already started ordering COVID-19 vaccines for children. They're just awaiting final approval from the CDC.
“The possibility of being able to expand the vaccine down to 5-11 year-olds is very substantial for us,” explained the city's Public Health Emergency Manager Jerry Tucker.
Children in that age group could get a COVID-19 shot as early as next week if the approval doesn't hit any roadblocks.
“If everything goes as planned, we would like to start our first vaccination clinic on November 9th, and so we are waiting for the final approval for that and it does, it's very optimistic,” Tucker said.
He said they plan to work alongside Chesapeake Public Schools and pediatric practices to vaccinate as many children as possible. Some parents said they're ready to sign their children up.
“Two of my three kids are in the age group for the vaccine and we are absolutely looking forward to getting them vaccinated," said Matthew Castillo.
A second Chesapeake parent, Aspen Nolette, wouldn't answer if her children would receive a COVID-19 vaccine. She said it's a medical procedure that's personal and private.
“I think many parents feel the way I do and that we’re not anti-mask, we’re not anti-vaccine, we’re pro-medical freedom, and as long as have the ability to make those choices for their children -- whether it's a medical exemption or a religious exemption -- we won't have a problem,” Nolette said.
Whether or not parents think it's the right choice for their children, Tucker believes expanding vaccination efforts could lead to lower case counts.
"I think as we expand the vaccinations out to larger portions of the population, we will see decreases in case rates and hospitalizations and mortality," he said.
Tucker said the Chesapeake Health Department plans to hold several COVID vaccine clinics for children 5-11 once approved. They said their number one goal is to make the vaccine accessible to everyone.