Ige urges parents to vaccinate keiki

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kaylee Samura, 7, holds onto KTA Director of Pharmacies Kerri Okamura while being vaccinated for COVID-19 in the gym at St. Joseph High School on Nov. 10 in Hilo.

  • IGE

Gov. David Ige said Monday about 14% of children ages 5 to 11 statewide have received at least one shot of vaccine to inoculate them against the novel coronavirus.

“Right now, we’ve vaccinated about 16,000 children from 5 to 11,” the governor said during an online livestream interview. “There’s a total of about 115,000 or so children between the ages of 5 to 11, so I think it’s a good start. I anticipate there will be more vaccinations.”

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Ige noted schools are vaccinating children, as are pharmacies and pop-up clinics. The governor added that despite the fears some children — and adults — have of hypodermic needles, he’d like to “assure the parents that it’s very safe and effective.”

“The data that we’re seeing is that it really provides protection,” he said.

As of Monday, according to the Department of Health, there was a statewide daily average of 113 new cases in the previous 14-day period with a test positivity rate of 1.5%. For Hawaii County, there was a seven-day daily average of 19 new cases with a 2.3% test positivity rate.

“The number of cases have been pretty stable,” Ige said. “I do want to let the public know we had an error in reporting, so the last few days there have been some old case reports that were included in the numbers. … The case counts might seem elevated because of these numbers, but if you take all those out, we’re actually holding steady between 100 and 130 or so.

“Obviously, we’d like to see it lower, but it’s not spiking, so we feel pretty good about where we are right now.”

Ige reminded viewers anyone 18 or older and fully vaccinated for at least two months is eligible for a booster shot.

“They are strongly recommending anyone 50 years or older get the booster,” he said. “… But now, anyone 18 years old or older is eligible.”

The governor said the current COVID emergency proclamation expires at the end of this month and acknowledged he’ll authorize another proclamation effective Dec. 1.

“I have been working with the mayors to … talk about what happens in this next phase,” Ige said. “We do expect, in the next day or so, and definitely before Thanksgiving, to make an announcement about what changes would be in store beginning Dec. 1.

“We recognize that we need to relax restrictions. We think that we’ve been responsible in slowly making the restrictions less so, and we continue to see good results and outcomes. So we will be looking at how we can move to this next phase.”

Ige said mask mandates for indoor public settings will continue in the next set of emergency rules.

“We are seeing more and more studies about (the) effectiveness of mask wearing,” he said. “And in Hawaii, we do continue to have the mask mandate indoors, even though other states have dropped it. … It definitely has proven to be effective, and I do think that’s one thing we’ll continue to have in place going forward.”

The state’s Safe Travels program will also remain in place, according to the governor.

“We know that we need to continue to require those coming from outside of the state to either be vaccinated or tested, or they should go (into) quarantine,” he said. “I do think that’s … one of the reasons Hawaii has had amongst the lowest infection rates in the country.

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“… The mandatory quarantine has made a difference. And as more people get vaccinated all across the country, then it’s easier for people to travel here in a safe way.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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