FDA provides update on COVID vaccines for children amid increase in pediatric cases

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Food and Drug Administration released a statement on Friday, Sept. 10, which cited the importance of pediatric vaccine trials before moving forward with COVID vaccines for kids. These trials are underway and are looking at whether the doses given to children need to be different or less strong than those given to adults.

While the FDA did not lay out a specific date for approval, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said he expects the vaccines to be authorized by early November.

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“We think that children ages either 8 to 11 or 5 to 11, those are the two groups under consideration and will be authorized for vaccination sometime this fall,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) reported 135 pediatric cases Friday, Sept. 17, which is down from the 146 reported on Thursday, Sept. 16, and 212 reported last week. Meanwhile, a quarter of Kauai’s COVID cases are among those 18 and younger — a trend that is similar across the islands.

“We do expect that to continue as the virus spreads more and more among our younger and unvaccinated population,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, DOH Kauai Department health officer.

“We’re still seeing quite a few children with positive cases, and I just had three more positives this morning,” said Dr. Robert Wotring, a pediatrician at Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Medical Center.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, the DOH released its cluster report and cited a school as a source of a cluster of 45 cases on the Garden Isle in August. The DOH pointed out poor ventilation and lack of social distancing, but these issues have already been addressed.

Dr. Berreman added that community transmission continues to be an issue.

“When we’re seeing large numbers of children, it’s mostly households where one or two adults or teens have become sick, and then the whole household gets sick. That’s really the impact of the delta variant, that it spreads so very easily,” Dr. Berreman said.

Health officials said pediatric coronavirus vaccines cannot come soon enough.

“About one out of every 100 children that contract COVID need to be hospitalized, so we can definitely reduce the chance of that happening,” Dr. Wotring said.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

Until COVID vaccines for younger children are approved, health officials are asking family members to get vaccinated to protect their keiki and themselves.

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