(WSYR-TV)– Nearly a year and a half after COVID-19 vaccines became available for U.S. adults, the youngest population still not protected could have shots in arms as early as next week. 

The FDA granted emergency use authorization for both the Moderna and Pfizer child doses Friday, bringing kids as young as six months old one step closer to being vaccinated, including Keith Martin’s two-year-old grandson.

“It’s like getting the flu shot, I mean it’s devastating what it did to our country, but we gotta try and prevent future flare-ups of it.”

Keith Martin, Grandparent

Upstate Medical University Pediatrician and Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Jana Shaw called the authorization a tremendous step in the fight against COVID-19, saying the time to protect our youngest population is more important now than ever before. 

“People do not wear masks, they do gather, they do attend public gatherings, so children are particularly vulnerable because we have removed all the layers of protection that might have shielded them until now,” Dr. Shaw said.

She added that the Omicron variant hit children particularly hard, resulting in over 400 kids under the age of five dying in the United States, far more than doctors normally see from influenza.  

“For me as a pediatrician, an infectious disease specialist, and as a mother, you know it is a no-brainer.”

Dr. Jana Shaw, Upstate Infectious Disease Expert

The final recommendation is expected to come from the CDC this weekend.