The pop-up events have focused on medically underserved areas with low vaccination rates, one of which was Sunset Elementary School, where a mother of two young boys expressed her appreciation for our efforts. She explained that she had scheduled an appointment in Waipahu to get her sons vaccinated until she saw an email from the principal inviting parents and students to an outreach event at the school the night before. She was beyond grateful not to make the long, inconvenient drive for a simple shot. This sentiment by a parent is not unique. It has been expressed by multiple families in different communities who stressed the inconvenience of traveling outside their community to receive vaccinations. These outreach events have created greater access, allowing more people to get vaccinated.
Many other community members across O‘ahu have also shared their vaccination stories. We have heard stories from energized children who encouraged their parents to vaccination sites, kūpuna who received their second boosters because of concerns for their health, and young adults who were vaccinated to protect their tūtū.
Through this pandemic, we have seen high case counts, skyrocketing unemployment rates, and so much more. It is easy to lose the individual story amongst the overwhelming numbers. Still, these individuals remind us that behind every vaccine administered is a story of strength, community, and family. A reminder that every person counts to get us through this pandemic.
For information please contact Sairel Labasan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. May Rose Dela Cruz at email@example.com.