Schools to Soon Offer COVID-19 Vaccine for Keiki Ages 5-11
COVID-19 vaccination doses will be available for keiki at East Hawaiʻi clinics within the next week or two.
On Monday, Hilo Medical Center received 500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine approved for children ages 5-11. The shots will be offered at the two East Hawaiʻi Clinics in Hilo and the East Hawaiʻi Health in Keaʻau.
According to the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE), about 100 schools statewide have expressed interest in serving as vaccination sites for children ages 5-11 so far. Some of the participating schools will begin administering vaccinations Monday, Nov. 8.
There are approximately 83,000 students enrolled in public schools who are in the 5-11 age range as of the start of this 2021-22 school year.
“As with our school-based clinics for adolescents 12 and older, many of the 5-11 school sites will be designed and operated as ‘closed’ sites that accommodate their enrolled students – and possibly immediate family members depending on availability,” HIDOE officials state. “This is to ensure safety when clinics are run during school hours. Schools will let their families know about these opportunities directly.”
Vaccinations will require a parent/guardian consent form.
Although highly encouraged, HIDOE states COVID vaccinations are not mandatory for students to attend school.
While clinics will have doses available, HMC spokesperson Elena Cabatu said a lot of the vaccinations will be offered in the schools. For those who hope to schedule a vaccination with the clinics, she asked that people be patient.
Cabatu said it’s important to address reluctance and hesitation for the keiki vaccine case-by-case.
“There’s a lot of parents who want to get their kids vaccinated,” she said. “Let’s not be timid about this. The data is there to support it.”
Kona Community Hospital won’t ramp up to do vaccines for keiki age 5-11, however, they are supportive and plan to help encourage parents to get their children vaccinated.