Children as young as 5 may soon get vaccinated in Hawaii with parental consent.
The White House is allocating more than 40,000 child-sized doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Hawaii in an initial batch that would be made available at more than 150 different locations throughout the state, Gov. David Ige said during the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon authorize the Pfizer vaccine for use by children aged 5-11. An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would then meet Nov. 2 to give final approval for the vaccine distribution.
Ige said Hawaii plans to make the vaccine available for children as early as Nov. 8.
“We believe this is a game changer,” Ige said. “It really gives parents the opportunity to protect their children. We want to be prepared and will be rolling out the vaccines as quickly as we receive them.”
Approval of the Pfizer shots could open the door to more than 119,000 children to get the shot in Hawaii, according to the state Department of Health.
The new doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which are one-third the size of those given to teens and adults, would not need the same ultracold storage as those for adults. Instead, the shots could be stored in a normal refrigerator, Ige said.
Federal regulators have said that the benefits of authorizing the vaccine for use in children outweigh the risks. Those risks include possible hospitalization from a rare heart side affect associated with some people who got a Covid-19 vaccine.
Still, studies have shown that individuals typically recover in several days as opposed to Covid cases, which could result in death.
Children in Hawaii would only be able to get a vaccine with approval from their parents, who must fill out a consent form.
Ige said the state Department of Education already is prepared to administer the vaccines since the state has done clinics for the flu shot in the past.
Schools that want to host a clinic would need to tell the DOH, which is working with pharmacies and health care providers to staff those vaccine clinics, Ige said.
Staff would be able to verify a child’s identity and that their parents are allowing them to get a vaccine, Ige said.
In the U.S., 28 million children would be eligible to get the vaccine.
The number of Covid infections has declined in recent weeks after Hawaii suffered heavily under a surge of the delta variant. The state reported 97 new cases on Monday, with a seven-day average of about 121. No new deaths were reported, leaving the toll at 888 since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Sign up for our FREE morning newsletter and face each day more informed.
Not a subscription
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.
Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell