The Hawai‘i Department of Health is gearing up for the likely administration of COVID-19 vaccinations to children 5-11 as the Pfizer vaccine undergoes federal review for this age group.
DOH estimates there are 119,473 children 5-11 living in Hawaiʻi, which is roughly 8.4% of the state’s population. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee is scheduled to meet on Oct. 26 to discuss authorization of the vaccine and a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee is scheduled to meet Nov. 2-3 to discuss clinical recommendations.
DOH is preparing to make Pfizer’s vaccine for children available statewide in the event its use is authorized by the FDA.
“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. “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. DOH also plans 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 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.