An FDA advisory panel is expected to meet later this month to talk about the Pfizer pediatric vaccine.
If it is authorized, about 28 million school-age children could be eligible for COVID-19 shots as soon as Thanksgiving.
The Pfizer COVID-19 pediatric vaccine is seeking approval from the federal government for ages 5 to 11. (FOX 5)
Atlanta pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu of Children's Medical Group says some of her parents have been asking if they can get their children on a waiting list for the first available shots, once the vaccine is authorized.
"Parents have been waiting for this for months because these kids are the only ones who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine," Dr. Shu says. "And, once they are eligible, it kind of evens the playing field. So, they'll be able to do things more safely that they haven't been able to do up until now."
Most COVID-19 infections in children are mild.
But, the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has led to a surge in infections and hospitalizations in children.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has since a significant rise in patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. (FOX 5)
In August, 30,000 new cases were diagnosed in children, and they now make up just over one in four new infections, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Tuesday, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta had 30 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, about 5% of their total number of hospitalized patients.
"It is a myth that kids that most kids don't get sick, or are mostly asymptomatic," Dr. Shu says. "We do know that kids can get sick, we know they can transmit the infection. And kids can get severely sick, possibly ending up in the hospital or dying or having long-term symptoms or long COVID."
Convincing parents that younger children need to be vaccinated may be challenging.
In a Kaiser Family Foundation COVID Vaccine Monitor survey, 34% of parents of children age 5 to 11 said they plan to vaccine their child right away, once a pediatric vaccine is authorized.
Children ages 5 to 11 could soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (FOX 5)
Another 32% said they'll wait and see, 7% said they would vaccinate their child only if it is required, and 24% said they will definitely not get their child vaccinated.
"So, the one thing I tell parents is that over 6.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given worldwide, and researchers continue to track and report safety data," Shu says. "So, overall, the vaccine is extremely safe and effective."
Parents of children under 5 are also on the fence about a possible vaccine.
In the KFF survey, 23% of parents of youngsters under 5 who were surveyed said they would vaccinate their child right away if a vaccine were authorized.
On the other hand, 35% said they will definitely not get their child under 5 vaccinated.