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Q: When will children and teenagers be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Currently, none of the approved COVID-19 vaccines are applicable for young children/teenagers. This is because the vaccines still need to be tested in younger children as their immune systems are different than adults, so it’s not safe to assume the vaccine would be ideal for children. There are vaccine trials currently underway in children as young as 12, with results expected later this year and a new, pediatric vaccine available for our younger population.

However, the vaccines that are currently available can be used on older kids – 16 years of age and up. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for teens age 16 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is approved for young adults age 18 and older. At Maui Health’s vaccine clinics, we are administering the Pfizer vaccine, and any Hawaii resident age 16 and older can get vaccinated. Remember, at Maui health, anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to their vaccine appointment. Teenagers that qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can and should get vaccinated as soon as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Michael J. Shea , MD

Critical care medicine

Maui Memorial Medical Center
221 Mahalani Street
Wailuku, HI 96793