Hawaii parents celebrate positive news in push to get younger kids vaccinated

"It's going to be a tremendous weight off my shoulder."
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For Pauoa resident Stan Togashi, the prospect of having the vaccine available for his 6- and 8-year-old daughters is a huge relief.

“It’s going to be a tremendous weight off my shoulders,” he said.

“They both attend public school and every day I worry that if they get exposed to COVID, what are the long term effects going to be.”

Palolo resident Anna Karsin agrees.

“The idea that if they would get COVID, they could get very sick,” she said.

“For me the vaccination takes that away and it becomes a less severe illness, which makes me feel better about sending my daughter to school every day,” she said.

Pfizer said Monday the vaccine works for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 ― at much lower doses ― and that it will soon seek federal emergency authorization for this age group.

“I expect in the next few weeks they’ll approve it fully for kids 5 to 11 and we’ll see the case counts drop again,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

Green said there are about 119,000 children in Hawaii between the ages of 5 and 11. Based on the vaccination rate of older children, he believes that half ― or about 59,000 kids will get vaccinated.

“That will push us over 80% (vaccination rate) once that gets done,” Green said.

Erika Kimura, an Ala Moana parent, said she has some concerns about the safety of the shot for kids.

“I think it’s important to have vaccinations for children but I just think enough data needs to be presented by the group of experts,” she said.

But she said once the kinks are worked out, she hopes it will bring back some of the normalcy to her family’s life.

“We’ve been waiting to travel and eventually going to Japan ― hopefully sometime soon. So the vaccine will actually help,” she said.

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