Hawaii keiki begin to receive the COVID vaccine


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Doctors said from a public health standpoint, there is no reason to delay getting children aged five and up vaccinated against COVID, but getting the vaccine continues to be a choice made by the entire family.

Children five to 11 years old are the next age bracket eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Joey Lee is the mother of a nine-year-old who got vaccinated on Wednesday, Nov. 3 — the first day the vaccine opened up for younger children.

“It’s just doing our part as a family and, you know, keeping our other family members safe,” Lee said. “We have a 98-year-old grandmother.”  

Lee’s daughter Kaysie is the youngest family member able to get vaccinated; she said they will soon be a fully vaccinated household, which gives her more peace of mind.

“We’re excited that, hopefully, by the holidays, you know, we’ll just have a little less anxiety among everybody in the household and in the family,” Lee added. 

The children’s COVID vaccine is one-third of the dose given to adults. The Queens Medical Center Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Nadine Tenn Salle said the lesser dose should prevent long-term or rare side effects.

“The effects that we’re most likely going to see are a little bit of a sore arm for a day or two, typically not needing any medication,” Dr. Tenn Salle explained. “Fevers, possibly a little bit of fatigue, can be treated with Tylenol or ibuprofen, and a little bit extra rest.”

About 1,500 appointments poured into Hawaii Pacific Health facilities as soon as times opened up on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The hospital’s initial allotment was 10,000 doses.

“We watch our appointments and that helps us to know how much interest there is,” Hawaii Pacific Health Executive Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Melinda Ashton said. “We also have had practice from the beginning that we don’t make appointments if we don’t have vaccines.”

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

Seven-year-old Dane McCartin was among the first children in Hawaii to get the shot.

“I got the COVID vaccine and it doesn’t hurt.” 

Dane McCartin, one of the first children in Hawaii to get the shot

Parents can learn more about the COVID vaccine availability through the state’s department of health website.

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