By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research from Pfizer says the company’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children. The company is now expected to request emergency use authorization and doctors say it can’t come soon enough because the number of children being infected with Covid-19 continues to grow.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is packed with sick kids, not just with COVID, but also other respiratory infections and many suffering from acute mental health problems.

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Doctors say getting children vaccinated is critically important.

Children are a step closer to being able to get vaccinated. Two doses administered to children between the ages of five and 11 has a “robust” response and “favorable” safety outcomes.

“This is news we’ve been waiting for,” CHOP Dr. Julia Sammons said.

Dr. Julia Sammons, with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says children would get the same vaccine as adults, but in smaller doses.

“Not necessarily due to their smaller size but due to the fact that children have more robust immune systems, so it frequently takes less dose to elicit that same robust response,” Sammons said.

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Doctors say getting children vaccinated will be a critical step in controlling the virus, the clearance is expected soon.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he hopes by the end of October we will be there.

Until then, COVID cases in children are expected to continue climbing. In Pennsylvania, there were 2,300 new COVID cases in children in the first three weeks of September.

“As we’re seeing more children getting infected we’re seeing more children requiring hospitalization,” Sammons said.

She says it’s not just COVID cases, CHOP is also seeing a big spike in other respiratory illnesses and with flu season on the way the hospital, which is already crowded, is making plans for even more patients.

“We do anticipate needing to identify ways to increase capacity so we’re implementing those measures now,” Sammons said.

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Pfizer is expected to release data on its vaccine for children younger than 5-years-old soon, and Moderna’s vaccine research on children will be close behind.

Stephanie Stahl