The Hawaii Department of Health today said it is adopting guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recommending boosters for keiki ages 5 through 11.
DOH said children in this age group are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 booster shot five months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination.
CDC advisers were expected to approve a third COVID-19 shot for healthy elementary school-aged kids, following authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week, to bolster protection from the coronavirus as infection rates rise.
The booster shots are already available to those ages 12 and older.
“It’s exciting that children 5 to 11 years of age can now get added protection from a booster shot,” said DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char in a statement. “This is especially important at a time when COVID-19 case counts are increasing across the state”
The COVID-19 vaccine booster dose offers increased protection for children 5 to 11 years of age, given concerns of waning protection from the primary series, said Dr. Natascha Ching, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
“This is important, as we are seeing rising case counts in Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. with the increased transmissibility of the omicron variant,” she said in a statement. “As we head into summer when families may be traveling or planning social gatherings, the booster dose will add a layer of protection for the person who receives it, as well as those who may be at risk for severe disease and younger children ineligible for vaccination.”
She also said this is a good time for parents — if they have not yet done so – to consider vaccinating their children ages 5 and older.
“We continue to see COVID-19 affecting our keiki in Hawaii,” she said.
CDC also strengthening its recommendation of a second booster for people ages 50 and older and those 12 and older who are immunocompromised. People in those populations have already been eligible for a second booster dose four months after their first booster.
CDC now says they should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first one.
To find COVID-19 vaccination options in Hawaii, visit hawaiicovid19.com.