COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — On Thursday, Moderna announced they were seeking authorization to expand the use of its COVID-19 vaccine to children 6-months and older.  

For more than two years, children under the age of 5 have been limited in their protection against COVID-19, but the drug maker hopes to soon make it available to the youngest population as well. 

“It will be a sense of relief,” says Dr. Anup Kanodia of the many parents of young children that visit his office. “This is huge because so many kids under the age of 6 are still having to wear masks, still having to do the social distancing. Their life isn’t normal, their parents’ lives aren’t normal. A lot of them feel left out.” 

Right now, Pfizer’s vaccine is available to children 5-and-up, but Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, theirs are only authorized for adults. 

“Summers coming too. And so, you want your kids to be outside, you want your kids to play with other kids, summer parties, indoors, outdoors,” encourages Dr. Kanodia, a family physician in Columbus. 

Dr. Kanodia says clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is both safe and effective in preventing severe illness. 

Adding that children have shown even fewer side effects than adults. 

“There’s about 18 million people that are not covered right now, via vaccine,” explains Dr. Kanodia. “So, these are the babies, toddlers, preschoolers. So, those people now have a chance of protection.” 

The CDC estimated that by February, nearly 75% of children and teens in the U.S. had caught COVID at least once. 

And with hospitalizations for young children skyrocketing during the omicron surge, Dr. Kanodia believes Moderna’s application will be welcomed news for parents and guardians. 

“We have already seen about 500 kids die, under the age of 5– 5 or less. So COVID does affect our little ones. Not just the adults and the elderly,” Dr. Kanodia warns. 

After submitting their request on Thursday, Moderna will wait until likely June, when the FDA is expected to make a final decision.