This resource page aims to provide parents, educators and the community with information related to educating and taking care of our keiki during the pandemic. The links presented are to reputable sources of information. As adults who love and care for the keiki, you are the most important teachers in their lives. Keiki follow the models set by their parents, ‘ohana and kumus. As such, the Keiki Heroes project also aims to provide useful information and resources to you.
“The FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”
Children and Vaccines
How do we know that these vaccines are safe when they are so new?
The science to develop mRNA vaccines has been studied for decades and explored for other types of virus vaccines and also in cancer research. The vaccines were developed more quickly than ever before because the U.S. government accelerated the timing of meetings and because a lot of funding was made available to develop the most promising vaccines. No scientific shortcuts were taken. The safety and efficacy standards for vaccines seeking Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) are higher than for other vaccine candidates going through the vaccine testing and approval process. Multiple agencies and groups in the United States are working together to make sure that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available as quickly as possible.
As with the other test groups, Pfizer will continue to monitor the participants for 18 months after the participants were fully vaccinated.*
*Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Amendment Review Memorandum
Are there any side effects? Can it cause you to get very sick?
Clinical trials have found that in general, most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. Your arm may be sore, red or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a few days. Some people report getting a headache or fever after receiving a vaccine. These side effects are signs that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working to build protection against disease. Adverse events are extremely rare.
The Pfizer mRNA vaccine was given to 1200 children between 12 and 15. They were followed for 2 months. Adverse side effects from a vaccine should occur within 2 months of receiving it. They were given the same dose that has been used in patients 16 and older. 0 of the patients got Covid compared to 9 in the placebo group.*
*Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Amendment Review Memorandum (FDA.gov)
Covid-19 vaccine does not appear to cause Guillain-Barre disease and is safe for people with GBS.
The mRNA vaccine from Pfizer is not associated with an increased risk of blood clots.
Can COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give me COVID-19?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give someone COVID-19. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
Why vaccinate kids if adults in the home are vaccinated?
It is possible they can be infected and pass it on to people who are vulnerable.
Children can also get seriously ill so we can’t rule that out.
What are the effects on teens through puberty and are there long term effects?
Science is clear that there is no way COVID vaccine can affect fertility and puberty.
Are there side effects on children?
Yes – temporary and non-serious side effects are to be expected. There are no serious safety concerns.
Talking to Children
How to talk with children about COVID-19 and vaccinations?
Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH)
For the latest COVID-19 information for the State of Hawai’i, please visit www.hawaiiCOVID19.com.
The following excerpt from the DOH “Keiki” section is especially relevant.
No evidence suggests children are more susceptible to COVID-19. Children and young adults are more likely to spread COVID-19 to older individuals and those with chronic diseases than to suffer themselves from complications of COVID-19, so it’s important we educate our keiki to keep others in our community safe.
Talk to your children about COVID-19
- Explain what COVID-19 is — a respiratory illness spread from person-to-person contact — and one that poses risks for individuals over the age of 65 and those with pre-existing illnesses. Consider sharing this 3-minute audio clip and comic from NPR.
- Reinforce the importance of keeping others safe through everyday prevention, such as proper hand-washing and not sharing food utensils and beverages with others.
- Reduce stress and anxiety by sharing what your household is doing to prepare — bringing in additional supplies and following the city and state mandates when it comes to quarantine and social distancing. Let them know your family has plans in place and encourage them to come to you with any questions or concerns. Learn more.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a family fact sheet you can view and download from their site which includes reactions based on age group and the best ways to respond.
Keep your keiki healthy while at home:
- Children with COVID-19 may present with milder symptoms than adults, e.g. cold-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose and cough. If you observe these symptoms in your child, please contact your health care provider.
- Launder washable plush toys more regularly and in the warmest water possible.
- Continue your child’s learning at home and help them stay active and socially connected with their peers. Learn more.
Perspectives for Parents
- New Moderna Clinical Trial for Children’s COVID-19 Vaccines to Launch in Early August (July 13)
- Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Now in Phase-Two Testing at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (July 7)
- Studies Show Vaccines are Effective Against Delta Variant (July 6)
American Academy of Pediatrics
Information from the CDC and WHO
There are many sources of COVID-19 information. In fact, there are too many, including some that are questionable. This is contributing to information overload, confusion, and even unsafe behaviors. The following list is a selection of articles from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO).