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Everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and Moderna and Pfizer announced today that the vaccine may be ready for kids ages 5-12 by early fall.

Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a virtual event hosted by Clubhouse on Monday that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine will be available for kids as young as 5 by early fall. “I think it’s going to be early fall, just because we have to go down in age very slowly and carefully,” he said.

Kids are typically at a lower risk of developing sever cases of COVID but those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for hospitalization. Right now, kids as young as 12 can receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Pfizer announced Tuesday that it was testing its COVID-19 vaccine in 5- to 12-year-olds and told The New York Times that they will soon start testing the shot in kids as young as 6 months. Both Pfizer and Moderna would need to apply for emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration by the fall to administer their vaccines to young children.

And while kids seem to be less susceptible to COVID, and those who do contract it fair much better than adults, there have been reports of an increase in hospitalizations in New Jersey among kids who get COVID.

The CDC released an updated morbidity report showing the rate of hospitalizations increased nationally in adolescents from January through March.

The state Department of Health found New Jersey’s data among adolescents aligned with national trends, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during Gov. Phil Murphy’s news conference on Monday.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic among children ages 5-18, 856 have been hospitalized and similar to the national data, we have also seen an increase in the rate of hospitalized children requiring intensive care,” Persichilli said.

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