WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDTN) – Young children may be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 early next year, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Dr. Fauci predicted elementary school-aged children would “very likely” be eligible for vaccination during the first quarter of 2022.

The prediction comes days after Pfizer requested emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine in children ages 12 to 15.

In the Miami Valley, some parents say they are looking forward to getting their children vaccinated against the virus.

“As a health care professional, I think it’s important, I think it’s safe,” said Erin Pryor, an Oakwood mother of two.

Pryor told 2 NEWS she and her 17-year-old son recently got their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and she’s hoping her younger son – who is 13 – can get vaccinated soon as well.

“I actually think the process by which they’re testing the younger kids seems to be they’re taking a lot of time in making sure that it’s going to be the right process,” Pryor said.

“For younger kids, they’re not going to approve a vaccine until it has been extensively studied and proven to be safe in those age ranges,” said Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, patient safety officer for Kettering Health Network.

Although most children do not become severely ill from the virus, some of them are hospitalized, Dr. Weinstein said. Children can also spread the virus to adults, he added.

Getting kids vaccinated will be “very important” to achieving herd immunity in the U.S. population, Dr. Weinstein said.

“They also, of course, congregate in tight quarters a lot at school or in their activities,” he said. “So that is a reservoir where COVID can continue to spread in the community.”