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With children 12 and up now eligible for COVID vaccines, here’s what you need to know

A high school student receives the COVID vaccine at the Waipahu High School clinic.
A high school student receives the COVID vaccine at the Waipahu High School clinic.(Hawaii Department of Education)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 3:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the state works to fight the spread of COVID-19, some vaccine sites have begun administering shots to children age 12 and up after the vaccines were authorized by US health advisors Wednesday.

Although the CDC director still needs to sign off on this change, several states including Hawaii began administering shots to this age group.

With children age 12 and up now eligible to receive a COVID vaccine, there may be some confusion or hesitancy surrounding the shot.

Here’s what kids and parents need to know:

As of right now, the only shot children age 12 and up can receive is the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Because of this, it is important that when signing for an appointment that the vaccination site will be administering the Pfizer vaccine.

The shots given to children will be the same dose as what adults receive, which is two shots given three weeks apart.

Yes, parental or guardian consent is needed in order for children between the ages of 12 and 17 to get a shot.

Consent can be given in different ways depending on guidelines created by the state. Currently, most vaccination sites in Hawaii require those age 12 to 17 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian during their appointment.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration declared that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and said the vaccine offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 US volunteers ages 12 to 15.

According to the Associated Press, the agency noted there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 16 who got the dummy shots. Researchers also found that children in this age group developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.

Common side effects will be similar to those experienced by adults, which include fatigue, headache, muscle pain and fever. Pain in the arm where the needle is injected is also expected with the effects more likely to occur after the second shot.

As students are eager to get back to the classroom and begin in-person learning, health officials said getting vaccinated is good way to ensure health and safety at schools and to prevent the spread of the virus.

Health officials also said that getting vaccinated not only protects those who receive the shot but also protects those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine or those who are unable to get the vaccine due to medical and other health reasons.

Shots for those age 12 and up are currently being administered at various locations with the Queen’s Medical Center, Adventist Health Castle, Hawaii Pacific Health as well as 15 Long’s Drugs locations. Kaiser Permanente is also opening up appointments to this age group and is planning to open clinics at high schools.

For more information, click here.

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