State prepares to administer COVID vaccine to children aged 5 to 11

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state is getting ready to roll out the COVID vaccine for children between the ages of five to 11. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer’s vaccine on Friday, Oct. 29, for kids — which is about one-third of the amount given to teens and adults.

Another approval is needed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before the shots are given in schools and other vaccination sites. The CDC is expected to approve the vaccine next week. When that happens, the Department of Health (DOH) said children can begin getting their shot in schools starting on Monday, Nov. 8.

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The DOH said about 150 schools have signed up to serve as coronavirus vaccination sites — ranging from public, charter, as well as private schools. With younger children getting the vaccine, officials said it is important for both the kids and their parents to feel comfortable with the whole process.

“Parents will be invited to attend the vaccination, and then the waiting area — the observation area after the vaccination,” said Brooks Baehr, Hawaii Department of Health spokesman.

The vaccination will likely be done in large areas, such as a gymnasium or under a tent outside; each school will most likely only vaccinate the students who attend that school because it will be administered while classes are in session. Consent forms will be sent out ahead of time and will also be available at the school.

“No vaccine will be given without a signed consent form by a parent or legal guardian. They’ll be looking for those signed consent forms, collecting them at every single vaccination site.”

Brooks Baehr, Hawaii Department of Health spokesman

There are about 120,000 kids aged five to 11 in Hawaii. Baehr said the first batch of 41,700 children’s doses are already on the way to Hawaii and more will be ordered. A second dose will be given at the same site three weeks after the first one.

“I’m excited because all the kids can play together, and there’s less worry because I look at it like any other vaccine,” said parent Melody Namiki Roberts.

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

National surveys show about one-third of parents want to get their children vaccinated right away and one-third want to wait and see. Health officials are asking parents to talk to their doctors to get legitimate information about the COVID vaccine.

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