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School-based vaccine clinics step up outreach as younger kids start to roll up their sleeves

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 5:08 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Nanakuli High & Intermediate on Wednesday, about 40 people arrived and rolled up their sleeves.

The school is one of several around the state serving as community vaccine clinics.

[Read more: State releases list of school-based clinics as part of push to vaccinate teens]

“We want to provide extra access and we want to be where the kids are,” said Dr. Vija Sehgal, chief quality officer and director of pediatric services at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Shannice Leig, 18, is in her senior year at Nanakuli High and was among those getting vaccinated.

“I was kind of nervous because I hate doctor needles, but it was kind of worth it. I didn’t feel much pain at all,” she said.

The efforts come as the US is now vaccinating children as young as 12 with the Pfizer vaccine.

On Wednesday, WCCHC school-based staff called the DOE and Health Department, which gave immediate permission to move forward with younger inoculations.

“Oh my goodness. What an exciting day today,” said Sehgal.

Staff quickly jumped on their phones to contact parents and Sehgal took to social media to urge people to come in.

“There is definitely a sense of urgency as in vaccinating as many as many people as we can,” she said.

That urgency is even higher in Leeward Oahu, where clusters continue to pop up.

“COVID has been an absolutely devastating disease especially for the Native Hawaiian/Pacific island population. The COVID rate still remains relatively high all the way up the coast,” said Sehgal.

Cases are rising among younger people so for those still waiting, 18-year-old Shannice has this to say.

“I’d rather be safe than not,” she said.

The next COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those 12 and up will be at Waianae High School this Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-ins are welcomed.

An appointment can also be made by calling 427-3659.

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