DOH Prepares for Likely Authorization of COVID-19 Vaccine for Keiki 5-11
Officials with the Hawai‘i Department of Health say they are planning for the likely administration of COVID-19 vaccinations to children 5-11 as the department closely monitors federal review of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group.
The US Food and Drug Administration must authorize use of the vaccine and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must issue recommendations for clinical use of the vaccine before administration can begin. However, DOH is preparing to make Pfizer’s vaccine for children available statewide in the event its use is authorized.
DOH estimates there are 119,473 children 5-11 living in Hawaiʻi, which is roughly 8.4% of the state’s population. An FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet Oct. 26 to discuss authorization of the vaccine and a CDC advisory committee is scheduled to meet Nov. 2-3 to discuss clinical recommendations.
“DOH has been working with public- and private-sector partners to prepare for the likely authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 to ensure equitable distribution across the state,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP in a department press release. “While Pfizer reports its vaccine provides robust protection for children 5-11, we await a review of the scientific evidence by federal regulators. The lives of our keiki are precious, and we are encouraged we may soon be able to protect them from COVID-19 through vaccination.”
DOH is working with providers to offer vaccinations at a wide range of locations including schools, pop-up clinics, community health centers, hospitals, pharmacies and a limited number of pediatricians’ offices. Pediatricians and other medical providers can register here to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Department officials say they also plan a comprehensive communication and outreach campaign to parents and guardians of children 5-11.
The federal government is expected to distribute the first waves of vaccine directly to states and DOH has pre-ordered the full allotment allocated to Hawaiʻi—41,700 doses. This first allocation will cover 35% of Hawaii’s 5-11-year-old population. Doses will then be pre-positioned on each island based on 5-11-year-old population estimates.
The Pfizer dose being considered for children 5-11-year-old is one-third of the adult dose and is expected to be administered with a smaller needle.
Upon authorization, a list of sites offering vaccinations to this group will be posted online at HawaiiCOVID19.com/vaccine. Parents and guardians of 5-11-year-olds will need to fill out a written or electronic consent form before a vaccine can be administered.