Health officials say parents should talk to kids about vaccines as possible approval for those 12+ nears


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Health officials anticipate that the US Food and Drug Administration will authorize emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 12 and up soon, which will give Hawaii an additional boost towards herd immunity.

The announcement is expected to come by Friday and health officials in the state encourage parents to take the time now to sit down and talk to their kids about vaccines. They also recommend consulting their physician or pediatrician if they have questions or concerns.

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“If the goal is to absolutely stop deaths, then you want to get the vaccine to individuals 50 and older,” explained Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green. “If the goal is to stop community spread, you want to get down to age 18 or 12.”

According to phase three of Pfizer’s trial on adolescents, just over 2,200 participants demonstrated 100% efficacy and strong antibody responses, even higher than the trials with participants 16 to 25 years old.

“The mRNA vaccines, what they do is they send a signal that there’s this chemical out there that needs to be defended against. You create antibodies against it, and then those antibodies can attack what’s called the spike protein, that spike protein is specific to this virus and coronaviruses,” Green explained.

If a person gets exposed to COVID-19, the antibodies will then attack it and prevent a vaccinated person from potentially catching COVID.

“It doesn’t cause infertility. It does not cause mutations and it does not cause other abnormalities of any kind. We’ve been doing vaccinations for a long time. We’ve been using mRNA for a long time and, you know, there are people that have a healthy dose of skepticism and that’s okay. That’s really okay,” Green said.

He said parents should start talking to their kids, and consider the risks that could bring the virus into someone’s home, like hanging out with friends and/or summer jobs.

“It’s a deeply personal choice. I will not fault anybody if they choose to not vaccinate their children,” he said. “We’re having that conversation here at home on Mother’s Day. Today, Jamie and I are talking about whether or not Maya who’s 14 should be vaccinated and we’re having that conversation with her. We think you should respect children. We also think it’s a good time to talk to your pediatrician and find out what their recommendation is, which we will also do.”

He said hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated with little risk and exceptionally low side effects.

“It’s been about one in a million for the bad stuff, which is typical of any vaccination, about one in a million,” he said.

“We’re getting through a global pandemic which shut the world down. It actually shut the world down and we can’t do that again. If we can help it at all,” he added.

If you have any questions about the vaccine, consult your doctor or pediatrician.

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