Local officials say some schools could begin vaccinating keiki as early as Monday
State health officials say providers — such as pop-up clinics and pediatricians — can begin to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to keiki aged 5 through 11, as soon as they receive the doses.
The first batch of vaccine doses — 41,700 were ordered — arrived in the state Monday and officials say some schools could begin to administer the vaccine as early as Nov. 8.
This follows the decision Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children.
“The CDC reviewed the clinical data and determined the vaccine is safe. The Pfizer vaccine is effective in preventing severe illness and death. The vaccine will provide another important layer of protection in keeping our children and the entire community safe,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char.
The vaccine — one-third the dose given to older children and adults and administered with kid-sized needles — requires two doses three weeks apart, plus two more weeks for full protection.
Health officials last month unveiled a plan to distribute it through schools, pharmacies, hospitals, pop-up clinics, pediatricians’ offices and other locations.
Gov. David Ige says the list of public, private, and charter schools preparing for federal vaccine approval has been growing.
"Schools have been signing on, I mean we have been working to make sure that any school that wants to host a vaccination clinic will have the opportunity to do that," he said.
Mike Dahilig, Kauaʻi County's managing director, announced Monday that they will forgo in-school vaccinations as they expect to make the vaccine widely available at pharmacies, hospitals and clinics.
The health department estimates there are 119,473 children aged 5-11 living in Hawaiʻi.
Parents should contact their child’s school directly to see if and when their school will be offering vaccinations to students, the health department said. All keiki vaccinations will require a parent or guardian’s consent.
Amari Chang, 11, received her first dose of the vaccine at a clinic Wednesday for children of employees of The Queen’s Health Systems.
"I would tell (other children) just to get it because it doesn't hurt, it benefits you," she said. "It's just the right thing to do."
The health care system said it held the clinic to ensure safety protocols were in place for both parents and children.
For more information on where to get the vaccine, go to hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine.