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Keiki Vaccines Approved for 5-11 Years

On November 2nd, the CDC approved the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old. This allows more people to be vaccinated against COVID and for our community to build even more immunity together.

What are the differences with the vaccine for younger keiki?
Like the adult version, children will need two doses of this vaccine, with the second dose administered three weeks after the first one. Unlike the adult version, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 contains a lower dose (10 micrograms) than the vaccine used for older children and adults (30 micrograms). Also, smaller needles are being used to deliver the vaccine to children ages 5 through 11. The vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 also contains a different buffer than the vaccine used for older children and adults. This buffer, used in other FDA-approved vaccines, will help keep the vaccine stable in refrigerated temperatures for longer.

What are the common side effects for children?
Children given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines had side effects similar to those experienced by people ages 16 and older. The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite

Similar to adults, children have side effects within 2 days after vaccination that typically last 1 to 3 days. More children reported these side effects, except for injection site pain, after the second dose of the vaccine. However, some people have no side effects.

The Mayo Clinic has more Q&A for parents here.

Here is a list of resources for parents:

Where are keiki vaccinations available?
For locations for keiki vaccines, check the State of Hawai‘i COVID-19 Vaccination Locations (look for the purple tab labeled COVID-19 Vaccination for Ages 5-11). You can also contact your child’s school to see if there are vaccine clinics offered through the school. Keiki Heroes social media (@keikiheroes) also shares information about locations for keiki vaccinations.

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Keiki Heroes promotes health education materials that are culturally relevant and age-appropriate to support the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of children in Hawai‘i. We believe that keiki can be heroes by helping themselves and others to adopt healthy habits to support community health.

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As of 2022, Keiki Heroes became a project under Hawai‘i Public Health Institute.