Keiki Vaccines Offered on Molokai
By Catherine Cluett Pactol
Last week, health care providers on Molokai began administering COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11 following recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Tuesday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for children.
“The CDC reviewed the clinical data and determined the vaccine is safe,” said state Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “The Pfizer vaccine is effective in preventing severe illness and death. The vaccine will provide another important layer of protection in keeping our children and the entire community safe.”
On Friday, 10-year-old Link put on a brave face as he received one of Molokai General Hospital’s first keiki COVID vaccine doses. His mother, Jeanette Oshiro, is manager of MGH’s Outpatient Clinic.
“MGH along with other healthcare providers on Molokai, such as Molokai Dept of Health Public Health Nursing Office, MCHC and Na Pu’uwai pre-ordered 900 doses to vaccinate our Molokai keiki,” said Oshiro last Friday. “Today, MGH started to offer the Pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to this special age group. We are also still providing Moderna and Pfizer primary series, third and booster doses.”
She said the clinic has morning and afternoon appointments available, and parents and community members can call 808-553-3121 to schedule an appointment or for more information on the various COVID-19 vaccines.
“We are also in discussion with some of the public schools on providing mobile clinics on campus if there is a high demand,” added Oshiro.
Molokai Community Health Center also began offering the pediatric vaccine on Friday, said CEO Helen Kekalia Wescoatt. The vaccine is free just like the adult vaccine, she said, and MCHC is also offering booster shots for those over the age of 65 with underlying conditions for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson shots, “all of which are available and may be ‘mix and matched’ per CDC guidelines should the patient have a preference.” Those wanting to make an appointment can call MCHC at 808-553-5038.
The Pfizer vaccine dose for children ages 5 to 11 is 10 micrograms, or one third the dose used for adults, according to the DOH. The DOH estimates there are 119,473 children in this age group in Hawaii. The state’s initial order of vaccine for children is enough to provide 35 percent of the estimated population with the first of two recommended vaccinations. The second vaccination should be administered three weeks after the first vaccination or shortly thereafter.
In the past two weeks, Molokai logged three positive cases on Oct. 27 and one on Nov. 3, according to DOH data as of Sunday. There’s been an average of 94 cases per day in Hawaii over the past week.