By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. Final clearance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected next week.

This comes as the Philadelphia School District announced a new vaccine mandate for student-athletes.

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There have been COVID-19 outbreaks in several sports teams. Doctors say the virus spreads easily when people are in close contact, and that’s why the school district says all student-athletes in Philadelphia will have to be vaccinated. The deadline for winter sports is Dec 18. Until then, students will continue testing.

The school district says the vaccine mandate is necessary to protect students and staff and prevent the cancelations of games.

“Millions and millions of doses of this vaccine have been given,” Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said.

The acting Philadelphia health commissioner says there’s mounting research about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, including the one from Pfizer for children between the ages of 5 to 11.

“This is a decision every parent needs to make with accurate information and Stephanie, I say that because there’s a lot of misinformation floating around,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.

Eyewitness News spoke with the U.S. Surgeon General about the administration’s education campaign on the pediatric vaccine that’s expected to be available to 28 million younger children next week.

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“We need to get as many vaccinated as possible, including children,” Alyssa Detweiler said.

CBS3 was in East Norriton with reaction from parents about getting children vaccinated.

“It’s imperative that our kids get vaccinated so our kids can get back to school, get educated,” Kevin Gardner said.

“If the parents are against it, I don’t think that it should be forced on the children,” Nakia Crowder said.

Many parents are hesitant. One poll showed that 66% were concerned about the impact on their child’s future fertility.

What does Murthy say to the parents who say there’s not enough research on this?

“It’s important to ask these questions because this is why we have an FDA approval process, that’s why the CDC is going to weigh in,” Murthy said.

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Murthy added the federal agencies have independent scientists reviewing all of the research coming in on vaccines and he says they are considered the gold standard for safety.

Stephanie Stahl