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San Diego pediatrician and parent excited for vaccine for small children

Moving one step closer to getting full approval, an FDA committee overwhelmingly recommends the Pfizer vaccine for kids between 5 and 11 years old.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Moving one step closer to getting emergency authorization, an FDA committee overwhelmingly voted "yes" on Tuesday, recommending the Pfizer vaccine for kids between 5 and 11 years old. 

Pediatrician Dr. Jamie Friedman in 4S Ranch, says the shot is a good idea for small children.

"The immune system works fantastic in young kids, and it works so well that their dose is actually smaller than the adult dose, and it works great," said Dr. Friedman. "Their bodies can handle vaccines. They obviously get other vaccines, and they do just fine.”

For hours, the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel weighed in on the vaccine's safety.

Ultimately, the 17-member panel voted unanimously that the vaccine's benefits in preventing COVID-19 in the younger age group outweigh any potential risks or side effects.

Carlsbad parent Shawn Mahoney is happy the FDA panel recommends the shot.

"It's about time. Unlocking the vaccine for that age group and that many millions of people, I think that can only help us get back to getting our lives back,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney enrolled his 6-year-old daughter Layla in the Moderna COVID vaccine trial.

"At first we said, 'no way are you going to experiment on our kids,'" said Mahoney. "But as we looked deeper and deeper into the science, we really came to the conclusion that they have a very good handle on this,”

Layla has brain cancer and finishes radiation next week, before beginning chemotherapy in one month. 

Mahoney feels protecting his little girl from COVID is the best thing he can do.

"The data has been very robust that these vaccines are safe. When she starts chemotherapy, her immune system is going to be non-existent," said Mahoney. "If she gets this, she is essentially like an 85-year-old unvaccinated person in terms of risk, and that is something that we were not willing to take a risk on."

As the weather changes, Dr. Friedman says even kids who have had COVID should get the vaccine to best prevent getting severely sick from it in the future.

"This is just one way to get those masks off, get kids back to normal and keep kids safe,” said Dr. Friedman.

Following the FDA panel vaccine recommendation, it will then go before the full FDA agency before the CDC will decide on whether to approve the Pfizer emergency use authorization starting with its meeting on Tuesday.

WATCH RELATED: Pfizer's COVID-19 shot for kids one step closer to approval (October 2021)