As some parents rush to get keiki vaccinated, others take wait-and-see approach

Health leaders say the hesitancy is understandable. As with the rollouts for other age groups, there was a initial rush and then a slow down.
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 3:39 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new national survey finds that many parents are waiting to vaccinate their younger children.

That means health officials are facing an uphill climb in boosting vaccination rates.

For Hawaii parents, several said having the option is great ― but some aren’t ready just yet.

“I’m actually very thankful the 5-to 11-year-olds are ready for vaccine,” said Tina Flores, who was with her kids at Gymboree in Pearlridge.

Flores has a 7-year-old daughter and she wants to sign her up soon so they can do more things.

“At least now I can take my children out. They still will wear masks, but at least I’m not super scared anymore,” she said.

In a recent survey, the Kaiser Family Foundation found 27% felt that way and would get their younger keiki vaccinated right away. About a third will wait and see. Meanwhile, 5% said they would only if required and 30% said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their younger kids.

Grandmother Paulette Yoshikane says she isn’t scared of COVID and doesn’t want her grandchild to get the shot even though roughly 200 Hawaii children have been hospitalized for COVID.

“I’m not anti-vax. I’ve been vaccinated for other things, but this particular vaccine is too new,” she said.

Parents in the survey said their top concerns were long-term side effects, serious side effects and impacts on fertility. Health experts agree that the COVID vaccine for kids is safe and there have been no severe side effects for children.

But others believe the children’s vaccine is a step toward more freedom.

“I’m grateful that it’s available for more of the population. So that more things can become available and open for us,” said parent Lisa Nicholes.

“We know our school is offering the vaccine in the next two weeks so we feel that’s a comfortable place for them to get it,” added parent Meredith Mimms.

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