HONOLULU (KHON2) — There’s still one big group of our population that’s being left out of the push to get vaccinated: kids under the age of 12.
Right now no vaccine has been approved for them, but there are other ways they can be protected.
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It’s not yet known if children are more prone to get the delta variant, but the fact that it’s more contagious means that more kids could be exposed to it.
A recent spike in cases on Kauai aren’t tied to the delta variant, but comes from unvaccinated adults.
Kauai reported seven cases of COVID-19 Saturday, and the county’s 14-day average is up 167%.
“Many of the new cases are children younger than 12-too young to be vaccinated,” Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said. “They became ill because of an unvaccinated, infected adult in their home. Being vaccinated protects you, and those in your home.”
Right now, only children 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated. They only have one option: the Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer is currently in clinical trials for kids as young as five, but until that gets an emergency use authorization from the FDA Lieutenant Governor Josh Green says the protection of young children lies with their family members.
“Everyone is going to have to soul search and decide how much protection they want for themselves, their families and their community,” Green said. “I would recommend everyone get vaccinated so we can put this problem to bed.”
According to the latest numbers from the state, about 13% of COVID cases in Hawaii have been children 17 and under. Of those children, at least 44 have been hospitalized.
With students of all ages returning to the classroom this fall, health officials will be keeping a close eye on potential new cases.
“Testing will continue to be very important,” Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said. , schools are one of them where we have populations who are not eligible for vaccination. We are working to expand on some school testing pilots that have began over the summer and looking to ramp those up in the fall,
While a COVID-19 vaccination won’t be required for public school students to return to campus, health officials are urging parents to get their child vaccinated. So far, Hawaii Pacific Health says they’ve administered almost 10,000 vaccine doses to kids ages 12 to 15 since it became available May 12th.
To make it easier for eligible children to get vaccinated, Hawaii Pacific Health is continuing it’s mobile vaccination clinics at schools across Oahu.
The upcoming schedule is as follows:
- Castle High School Tuesday, June 15
- Waipahu Intermediate School Wednesday, June 16
- Jarrett Middle School Thursday, June 17
- Kapolei High School Friday, June 18
- Ka Makana Alii Saturday, June 19
- Campbell High School Tuesday, June 22
- Pearl City High School Wednesday, June 23
- Jarrett Middle School Thursday, July 8