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Pfizer vaccine emergency authorization request for kids age 5-11: Will approval come in time for the holidays?

Pfizer asked the FDA to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. FDA's advisory panel is meeting on Oct. 26. Thanksgiving is seven weeks away.

PARIS, Texas — Paris Independent School District mom, Ashlea Helms Mattoon said her 11-year-old daughter “can’t wait to get” a COVID shot.

“She would love to have it as soon as possible,” Mattoon said. “She appreciates how it will make her feel more secure and healthy at school.”

Pfizer asked the U.S. government Thursday to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. 

News of potential vaccines for this younger age group has parents thinking about the holidays.

“Hopefully, maybe we'll be, by the time we go to Christmas, we'll feel a real security with the whole family and that would be nice,” said Mattoon. 

RELATED: COVID shots for younger kids: Answering top questions parents may have  

Thanksgiving is about seven weeks away and marks the beginning of what will likely be many family gatherings.

“Grandparents who may have gotten vaccinated but may have medical conditions where they didn’t get full protection: Vaccinating children will protect them and will allow all of us to come together at Thanksgiving, the holiday season in a much more safe way,” said former acting director of the CDC and pediatrician Dr. Richard Besser.

So, when can we expect these vaccines to get approved and distributed to the 5 to 11 age group?

The FDA’s independent expert panel is already scheduled to publicly discuss this on Oct. 26. The FDA considers the panel’s recommendation and also consults with the CDC and National Institutes of Health before granting emergency use authorization. 

RELATED: Here's what happens during the emergency use authorization process 

“There's great hope that kids this age could be at least getting their first dose well before Thanksgiving, and still a chance that they could be getting both doses before Thanksgiving,” said Texas Pediatric Society immediate past president and Frisco pediatrician Dr. Seth Kaplan.

In addition, Pfizer said this younger age group should only get a third of the dosage everybody else is receiving. 

“My understanding is that Pfizer will be repackaging the vaccine so that there is not any confusion between the two doses that are offered. And so it may take a little bit of time for those vials to get into offices and pharmacies,” said Dr. Kaplan.

RELATED: When will COVID vaccines start for kids? Updated timeline after Pfizer's FDA request