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COVID: Bay Area Pediatricians Already Prepare As FDA Considers Authorizing Vaccine For Kids Ages 5-11

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Young children, ages 5 to 11, could get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next month if it gets authorization by the FDA, but pediatricians are already preparing.

"We have seen children in all of our children's hospitals, including ours, who've been hospitalized, on ventilators," said Stanford University Prof. of Global Health and pediatrician Dr. Yvonna Maldonado. "Some children have died. It's nothing to take lightly."

On Wednesday, White House official Jeff Zients said the Biden Administration asked governors across the nation to enroll pediatricians and other providers in vaccination programs so they can be ready to administer doses once authorized.

"We know that children represent about 25%, or one in four cases of COVID in this country right now," Maldonado said. "I think the governors' ability to get pediatricians registered so that they can vaccinate children is a really smart idea."

Some of the Pfizer trials on young children had been conducted by Stanford Health, and . Maldonado said the participants' parents -- as well as pediatricians worldwide -- were looking forward to the vaccine's approval.

But not everyone is as eager to inoculate their children, including Ilya Vrublevskiy who has a 5 and 8-year-old.

"I'm not an anti-vaxxer, but I want to have a little bit more data," Vrublevskiy said. "I think it's irresponsible to put more stuff in their bodies until we have more data. If it comes down to it I'm ready to move out of the state, because we're not going to put it in them."

A couple weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement for middle and high school students once the vaccine receives full FDA approval, making California the first state in the nation to announce such a measure.

Newsom said younger children would also fall under the requirement once approved. The measure would take effect January 1 or July 1, whichever comes first.

In Santa Clara County, health leaders have also been preparing to rollout the vaccine for young kids once they get the word.

"We've known that this day of pediatric approval was likely coming," said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. "We're trying to make our sites look fun for kids. Most importantly for me as a parent, I hope that it decreases the chance of disruption for my own younger child, disruption to her school time."

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