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The Mālama Ola Minute is a series brought to you by the Kamehameha Schools Mālama Ola Division to increase awareness, promote discussion, and offer tools to improve the physical and mental health of our haumāna.

What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine

Jan. 20, 2021

As our state has begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine, many are feeling an emotion unfelt for too long – hope. While we begin to feel hopeful, as we should, remaining viligant and diligently following the recommended prventive measures remains critical. Nearly 5% of the stateʻs population has been vaccinated, but that means nearly 95% remain at risk.  Please continue to physically distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, and avoid gatherings.

Kamehameha Schools respects your ability to make choices about your personal health and the health of your ‘ohana. We encourage you to stay informed about the latest developments regarding vaccination. Here are some facts and resources to help ensure that you have the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following guidance regarding vaccines:

  • Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to protect you from getting sick if you are exposed to a virus.
  • The two COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing infection by the virus.
  • Medical experts believe getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do catch the virus.
  • The vaccines may cause some side effects like sore muscles, fatigue or a mild fever. For most people, the side effects will last no more than a day or two.  As with any medicine, it is rare but possible to have a serious reaction.
  • The vaccine cannot give you the disease.
  • Even after getting the vaccine, it’s important to continue preventive health measures like wearing a mask, observing physical distancing and practicing good hygiene.

The State of Hawai‘i’s vaccination distribution plan describes who will get the vaccine and when. 
With a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state is prioritizing the vaccination of those in high-risk groups. Information about the availability of vaccinations changes rapidly, so state officials recommend monitoring for the latest updates. Refer to the infographic above to see where you and your ‘ohana fall in the vaccine timeline.

According to the CDC, teens age 16 and older are eligible to receive a vaccine.

  • This age group can include students in grades 10-12.
  • The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA for those 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine for those 18 and older.
  • According to the state’s vaccination plan, teens age 16 and older with a high risk of COVID-19 complications can get the vaccine as early as spring 2021. All other teens age 16 and older not at an increased risk for complications from infection may receive the vaccine in summer 2021’s

At this time, there is no vaccine that has been approved for use in the United States for keiki under 16.

  • Several companies are running clinical trials with keiki as young as 12 years old.
  • Other studies involving younger children are set to start soon.



For the latest on COVID-19 vaccinations across the pae ‘āina, visit the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine information page, or the following healthcare system websites. For questions specific to your ‘ohana, contact your primary care physician.

Kaiser Permanente
The Queen’s Health Systems
Hawai‘i Pacific Health
Adventist Health Castle

For details on KS’ approach to vaccination, please visit our website and scroll down to the “Vaccination” section.


Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

When Will We Get a Vaccine for Children?

vaccination, malama ola minute, covid-19

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