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Keiki COVID shots now available

After weeks of preparation, Big Island health clinics and pharmacies will begin vaccinating keiki ages 5 to 11 beginning this week.

The state Department of Health last week authorized vaccination providers to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children in that age range.

The authorization is consistent with recommendations made last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following approval by the Federal Drug Administration.

The Pfizer vaccine dose for children is 10 micrograms, one-third the dose used for adults.

KTA Pharmacy will host a mass vaccination clinic for keiki ages 5-11 — as well as for anyone else who needs a vaccine shot or booster — from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Tennis Stadium. A parent or guardian must be in attendance throughout the vaccination process.

“We wanted to have these clinics, because there are not enough appointments available at our pharmacies,” said Kerri Okamura, director of pharmacies. “For our upcoming clinics, we have the opportunity to make it a fun event, so it’s a friendlier atmosphere for young kids.”

KTA also will be offering vaccinations to keiki 5-11 and the general public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph High School, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Waiakea High School.

Keiki 18 years old and younger who receive a vaccine will earn a free gift from Malama Ia Hawaii at all of KTA’s upcoming community clinics.

“Sign-ups have been really good, with a great a response from parents ready to vaccinate their kids,” Okamura said. “It’s exciting to hear kids asking about it, too.”

Those interested in COVID-19 and flu vaccinations can make appointments and register for KTA clinics at https://www.ktasuperstores.com/pharmacy-covid-19-vaccinations.

KTA already has planned the second round of clinics for second doses.

Bay Clinic will host a mass vaccination clinic at Kamehameha Schools Hawaii on Saturday, Nov. 20, that will be focused on children 5-11, but it also will be open to people of all ages.

“We’re going to try to make this as kid-friendly as possible, so we may have a face-painter or balloonist available,” said CEO Kimo Alameda. “It can be scary for kids to get shots, so anything to make it more fun will be nice.”

Bay Clinic also will be partnering with Keaau-Ka‘u-Pahoa Complex Area schools for some vaccination dates, according to superintendent Chad Farias.

“We’ll start getting parent-authorization forms completed, and depending on how quickly we got those back, we will start distributing vaccines,” Farias said. “We have a short window if we want to get both doses done before the holidays, so we’d like to get started as quickly as we can.”

More than 130 public, private and charter schools in the state will be offering vaccinations to keiki 5-11, according to DOH spokesman Brooks Baehr. Schools will not be listed online, because most vaccines will be limited to students.

“If you’re a parent and you’re wondering if your school will be offering the vaccine, the best way to get information would be directly from the school,” Baehr said. “We want parents to feel comfortable with this decision, so if they have questions, we encourage them to reach out to their doctor or pediatrician to get the best information for their child.”

The state initially is receiving 41,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11. The shots will be distributed to hospitals, community health centers, pop-up clinics and schools. Pharmacies will receive their doses directly from the federal government.

“41,700 is about 35% of the population of keiki 5 to 11 years old, so we feel confident in our current supply,” Baehr said. “We will monitor the numbers and continue to order doses as needed.”

Beginning today, Queens North Hawaii Community Hospital will offer Pfizer vaccines for kids 5-11 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with no appointment necessary.

There is no weight minimum, and proof of age is not required. A parent or guardian must accompany the child throughout the vaccination and observation process.

QNHCH will continue to offer first-time Pfizer vaccinations to those 12 and older, as well as Pfizer boosters, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Hilo Medical Center will be ending its community vaccination site at The Arc of Hilo at the end of November and will be focusing vaccine efforts at its clinics in Hilo, Keaau and Ka‘u.

Vaccines for keiki 5-11 will be offered at the East Hawaii Health Clinics beginning Monday, Nov. 15. The clinic located at 1190 Waianuenue Ave. will be vaccinating current patients only.

Those interested in vaccinations at the East Hawaii clinics should begin calling to secure a spot, according to HMC spokeswoman Elena Cabatu.

More information about COVID-19 vaccinations for keiki, as well as provider locations, can be found at https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine/.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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