Hundreds line up for coronavirus vaccine on first weekend of 12 and older eligibility


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lines wrapped around McKinley High School on Saturday, May 15, as hundreds of children and parents showed up to get vaccinated.

“It only feels like a poke, and it barely hurts, and it goes really fast,” said 12-year-old Tyson Tanioka.

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Tyson says he got the shot so he feels better about returning to school in the fall and because he will be traveling with his family in the summer.

“I think it will help because it’s first stopping a higher chance of other people getting Covid-19, which stops a higher chance of everyone getting COVID,” Tanioka added.

His older sister also got the Pfizer vaccine Saturday. Their dad says he wanted his family to be part of the community.

“We want to help reduce the amount of infections in the state, so we felt we’re going to do our part and make sure we’re not at risk,” said Guy Tanioka.

Queen’s Health Systems and McKinley High School partnered together for Saturday’s clinic and had 400 pre-registrations and about 200 walk-ins.

“We were somewhat surprised at the level of walk-ins because we were planning for some walk-ins, but this level of interest and enthusiasm reminds us of the early days when we first started vaccines,” said Julius Pham, chair of COVID-19 Committee for Queen’s Health Systems.

Parents were also surprised by the lines.

“It seems like everyone is ready to get back to normal and that people trust the vaccine,” said Natalie Yonemura, who brought her two teenagers in to get vaccinated Saturday.

She lost a family member to COVID-19 and wanted her family to be safe.

“Spreading it to my 90 year old grandma, you know we’re hugging and kissing her, I just don’t think I could live with it if I was the carrier, even to my own kids,” Yonemura added.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s 14-year-old daughter also got vaccinated Saturday.

KHON2 asked her how she felt going back to school in the fall. “I think that my school is very safe, and I think that now it’ll be a little safer, and I think that’s a good precaution to have,” she said.

Green says he and his wife Jamie are extremely proud of their daughter.

“We’re super proud of Maia for leading, we know that her friends were out getting vaccinated in big numbers today,” Green said.

“I think this younger generation is smart, they see the value in getting vaccinated and they’re contributing to immunity for the state,” he added.

Queen’s will have more high school clinics during the week of Monday, May 17. For more details, click here.

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