14,000 keiki initiated first COVID dose, can be fully vaccinated by Christmas

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The deadline for kids to receive their first Pfizer vaccine dose and be fully vaccinated against COVID by Christmas morning was Saturday, Nov. 20.

Kids receive one-third of the dose that adults receive and will need to get their second dose 21 days later; two weeks after that, they will be considered fully vaccinated.

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Although health officials have said the majority of kids do not get severely ill with COVID symptoms, they can still spread it to loved ones. The Pfizer vaccine became available to kids aged five to 11 on Nov. 3, and since then, about 14,000 keiki have received their initial dose.

Hawaii Pacific Health has partnered with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DOE) to provide easy access for parents to get their kids vaccinated at schools across Hawaii.

On Saturday, there was a drive-thru vaccine clinic at Kapolei High School.

Diana Beach took her son to get his first dose on Saturday, and she said she feels much safer knowing her entire family is close to being fully vaccinated.

“I was concerned. I have two older daughters, and they were able to get the vaccine, and we were waiting for them to come out with the approval for the five to 11-year-olds, and it feels so much safer and I’m so glad Hawaii Pacific Health offers this. I think it’s amazing and so easy to do in the car,” Beach explained.

Beach added that she has had some concerns but feels like she did enough research.

“I think it’s so important to keep our community safe and our families safe, so I’m glad I did it,” Beach said.

Health officials said COVID has also impacted kids’ mental health and said getting the vaccine is one step closer to returning to their old activities.

“It’s been a little hard because each time I have to go to school, I have to put on my mask, and we can’t usually go on field trips because there’s so much COVID spreading around,” Beach’s son, Westin, said.

Health officials across the country said not every child who suffered from COVID and ended up in a hospital had an underlying health issue.

“While it does seem like my child may not have a risk if they’re healthy, it is potentially a gamble for a third of the patients who had no underlying condition,” explained Dr. Natascha Ching, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

Dr. Ching said many parents have decided to wait and see what happens with the vaccine, while others were eager to sign up. She also noted that she knows many parents will have doubts and be hesitant about getting their child vaccinated, but encourages parents to talk with their pediatricians.

“Be honest with the kids that it may be a little scary, you will feel a poke, but all of this is trying to protect your body so you can do other things, and I hope families can think about keeping their families safe and preventing any potential spread to older kupuna in the family who may be more at risk for severe disease,” Dr. Ching explained.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

To view a list of where children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID vaccine, click here.

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