Kaneohe family: Experiencing COVID firsthand erased our vaccine hesitancy

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 3:07 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the COVID vaccines first rolled out, Kaneohe resident Tracie Poyer and her husband decided to hold off.

“I was like, you know I’m pretty healthy. I don’t think it’s gonna effect me,” Tracie Poyer said.

“So I wasn’t sure if I should get it or not.”

Then last month, they and three of their four kids ― all under the age of 10 ― tested positive for COVID. Poyer didn’t need to be hospitalized, but still experienced a full slate of symptoms.

“I had fatigue, I had chills, I had headaches,” Poyer said. “I had hard time breathing. When you breathe, it hurts and I never felt that before.”

Although her kids were asymptomatic, Poyer was worried that could change at a moment’s notice.

“I would go and check them,” Poyer said. “Check their heart, check if they’re still breathing, check if they have a fever because even though they weren’t showing symptoms.

“You just don’t know how this COVID is going to be for them.”

In the wake of the episode, the couple vowed to get vaccinated.

Both Poyer and her husband received the first dose of the COVID vaccine recently, and they’re encouraging other people who were initially vaccine hesitant to get the shot.

Their message comes as social services hub Palama Settlement launches a new vaccine drive in partnership with the Queen’s Medical Center.

The vaccination clinic opens Friday at 11 a.m. and no appointment is necessary.

As of Thursday, 65.9% of the state’s population was fully vaccinated against COVID and 74.3% had at least one dose, the state Department of Health said.

Palama Settlement program coordinator Pauni Nagaseu-Escue said now is the time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so.

“To lose somebody and their loved ones, I think that’s another rude awakening for so many to know I got to get out and get vaccinated,” Nagaseu-Escue said.

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