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

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

While the FDA has not given a specific date for approval, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said he expects the vaccines to be approved in early November.

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“We think that children ages 8 to 11 or ages 5 to 11, those are the two groups that are being considered and will be cleared for vaccination sometime this fall,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Green.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) reported 135 pediatric cases on Friday, Sept. 17, which is lower than the 146 reported on Thursday, Sept. 16 and 212 reported last week. Meanwhile, a quarter of COVID cases in Kauai belong to the age of 18 and under — a trend that is similar across all islands.

“We expect this to continue as the virus continues to spread among our younger and unvaccinated population,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, DOH Kauai Department health officer.

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

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

dr. Berreman added that community transmission remains an issue.

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“When we see large numbers of children, it’s usually households where one or two adults or teenagers have gotten sick, and then the whole household gets sick. That is really the impact of the delta variant, that it spreads so easily,” says Dr. Berreman.

Health officials said pediatric coronavirus vaccines can’t come soon enough.

“About one in 100 children who contract COVID will need to be hospitalized, so we can certainly reduce the chance of that happening,” said Dr. Wotring.

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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