So much has happened and changed since December 2021. At the time, the Omicron variant was new and filled with uncertainty. We later learned that the variant was less severe than the Delta variant but more contagious. As a State, we saw a huge spike of Covid-19 cases near the holidays which was evident at community Covid-19 vaccination and testing events. Many residents showed up to get tested and a significant portion were positive; we saw many families living in the same household including infants and elderly testing positive.
Other changes we witnessed at community outreach events were related to new Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine was finally approved for children ages 5 to 11-year-olds and we saw an influx of keiki along with their parents showing up to community events. I remember a father ultimately deciding to get his first Covid-19 vaccination after seeing how excited his seven-year-old daughter was to get her first shot. Children can have a lot of influence on all of us and our innate need to protect them. It is anticipated that children six months to under five years old will be able to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine soon and we look forward to seeing more families at community events.
As the Covid-19 mandates end, we remain committed to providing our communities with education and resources to stay diligent and cautious of the virus and adjust safely. We are grateful for our collaboration with Communities RISE to launch our mitigation efforts in Hawai‘i and Honolulu counties. As we move forward, with funding support from CDC and the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH), HIPHI will partner with 12 local community-based organizations statewide to host testing and vaccination events to distribute resources and tools to stop further spread of Covid-19. If there are any lessons learned over the last two years, it is that collaboration protects our communities.
For more information on testing and vaccination events happening near you, please contact Sairel Labasan at Sairel@hiphi.org.