COVID-19 UPDATE 35  

May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month! The pandemic has been and continues to be a transition for children across the country. With vaccine eligibility expanding to children ages 12 and up, the Hawai‘i DOE announced that all public school students should plan on returning to campuses for full, in-person learning in August. The return to in-person learning is especially important in light of a CDC study that confirmed virtual learning during the pandemic presented stressors to children and parents that might increase risks to mental health and well-being. The Hawai‘i Department of Health is hosting a series of virtual events to encourage parents to talk about mental health with their children.

FEDERAL UPDATES

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expanded to Everyone 12 Years and Older

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to include people aged 12 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that every eligible individual should get vaccinated, as widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Those who choose to get vaccinated are protecting themselves, their families and their community! Parents can find more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and adolescents here. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 12-17.

New CDC Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals 

Although the CDC has recommended that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in most settings, Hawaiʻi still has an enforced mask mandate. Though Governor David Ige is considering changes to Hawaii’s pandemic rules, everyone must continue to wear a mask when in public and any time around people who are not in their immediate household, unless outdoors and distanced because of the difficulty of determining if someone is or is not vaccinated. Recommendations also state that fully vaccinated people may not need to get tested following a known exposure, barring certain circumstances. As a reminder, the CDC defines “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after receiving a second shot of a two-dose vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer), or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help struggling households pay for internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your household’s income is at 135% or less of federal poverty guidelines, or any member of your household is participating in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, you may qualify! Apply online, by contacting your participating provider, or by mailing in an application and proof of eligibility.

 

STATE UPDATES

The University of Hawaiʻi Will Require COVID-19 Vaccination for On-Campus Students as of Fall 2021

The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) System is adding the COVID-19 vaccination to the school’s student health clearance requirements. This will be effective once the FDA approves one of the three COVID-19 vaccines (currently under an emergency use authorization), anticipated to occur before the Fall 2021 semester. To be on any UH campus, students must be fully vaccinated with an authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated UH students will still be welcome and may enroll in online courses and participate in student activities virtually. Students who need to file exemptions for medical and religious reasons will be able to do so; more details will come as implementation plans are finalized.

All Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) Schools Will Open for Daily In-person Learning on August 3, 2021 

HIDOE schools statewide will offer daily in-person learning for grades PK-12 starting in August for the 2021-2022 school year. Extracurricular activities such as clubs, band, and athletics will also resume. HIDOE is committed to creating a safe learning environment and as of the 2021-2022 school year will no longer be offering a full distance learning model to replace in person learning.

Walk-in COVID-19 Appointments at CVS, Walmart and Sam’s Club Pharmacies 

Longs Drugs (CVS), Walmart and Sam’s Club Pharmacies are now accepting walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations! You do not need to schedule an appointment online to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Please note that the Walmart in Mililani does not have a pharmacy and is therefore unable to administer vaccines. Individuals who would like to get vaccinated at Sam’s Club do not need to be a member.

Hawaiian Electric’s Disconnection Moratorium Ends May 31

Hawaiian Electric’s disconnection moratorium, which suspended service disconnections due to nonpayment during the pandemic, ends May 31, 2021. Hawaiian Electric is encouraging customers with a past-due balance to set up a payment plan. While the moratorium’s end will not trigger immediate disconnections, customers are encouraged to learn about plans available to them.

COUNTY UPDATES

Kaua‘i County

All Kaua‘i public schools will offer full daily in-person learning for grades PK-12 starting August 3, 2021. You can visit Kaua‘i public school’s launch page for more information and resources such as a daily wellness check for parents and students.

Maui County

The Public Health Emergency Rules for Maui County have changed and all revisions can be found here. Changes you can expect include:

  • Allows social gatherings of up to 10 people (previously 5)
  • More than one group of 10 individuals may gather outdoors, provided that face coverings are worn and physical distancing of at least 6 feet between separate groups is maintained
  • Allows up to 50% of a restaurant or retail business’s maximum occupancy
  • Restaurants, bars, food courts, commercial events such as luau must close no later than 11 p.m. (previously 10 p.m.)
  • No entry for take-out service after 11 p.m.
  • Interior occupancy increased from 30% to 50% for bars
  • Group size within bars increased from 5 to 10
  • Drills and practice for outdoor organized sports now include rugby and football; practice only, still no games allowed

Imua Family Services and Minit Medical will be holding a vaccine clinic for children 12 years and up to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the lower lawn at Imua Discovery Garden on Thursday, May 20, 2021 (with the second follow up shot on June 10). Please register online for an appointment. For more information or questions please email vaccine@minitmed.com.

Hawai‘i County

Every Wednesday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Queen’s North Hawai‘i Community Hospital offers weekly walk-in vaccinations for all state residents aged 16 years and older. Appointments are available Monday through Friday and people can make an appointment for a different day by emailing QNHCHvaccine@queens.orgwith their name, date of birth and phone number or by calling 808-881-4668. COVID-19 testing opportunities continue in Hawai‘i county. A live map of COVID-19 testing sites can be found here!

City and County of Honolulu

The two mass vaccination clinics in Honolulu, at Pier 2 and the Blaisdell Concert Hall are now accepting walk-ins! No appointment is required for vaccination. The Honolulu Harbor Pier 2 clinic is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Blaisdell Concert Hall is open daily (except for Tuesdays) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

On O‘ahu, providers including Hawai‘i Pacific Health (HPH), The Queen’s Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Adventist Health Castle and Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center will host school-based vaccination clinics to administer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, before the school year ends on May 28. To view upcoming clinic locations and dates, click here! For sites hosted by Hawai‘i Pacific Health, you can register here for the Mobile Vaccine clinic. For other sites, please check with your child’s school for details -those under the age of 18 must complete a Department of Education consent form that will be emailed to those who register prior to your appointment. Parents are welcome to escort their child, but do not need to be present.

STATEWIDE RESOURCES

How to Request a Replacement Vaccination Card in 20 Different Languages 

Lost your vaccination card? The Hawai‘i Department of Health has released information on the process to request a replacement vaccination card. Available in 20 different languages, this and many other COVID-19 translated resources, such as COVID-19 Vaccine Screening Questions and COVID-19 Services Without Insurance, can be found here.

Free Virtual Webinars in May

  • May 21: Adolescent Vaccination: Getting Back on Track
    • 12:30 – 1 p.m. HST
    • Objectives: Describe concerning trends in pediatric/adolescent vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Identify interdisciplinary communication strategies to encourage the completion of adolescent vaccinations, including HPV.
    • Register online!
  • May 26: Building Community Trust to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination
    • 12 – 1 p.m. HST
    • Objectives: Identify barriers to building community trust in COVID 19 vaccination. Incorporate evidenced-based research and talking points with patients, to increase community trust in obtaining covid vaccinations. Describe collaborative approaches to reach out to Hawaii’s at-risk populations to promote vaccination.
    • Register online!
  • May 27: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and Lung Health
    • 9 – 10 a.m. HST
    • Objectives: Rod Lew from APPEAL and Kim Birnie from Papa Ola Lokahi will discuss the difficulties in grouping “AAPI” populations in public health outreach and discuss why data disaggregation is important to reducing health inequalities. We will also discuss what Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have fared during COVID-19, and their continued struggle with other lung health issues, such as tobacco use and lung cancer.
    • Register online!

Free Telehealth Services for Neighbor Islands 

Neighbor island residents can receive free telehealth counseling services. The stressors originating from the pandemic are not easy to overcome, and those interested in seeking help from a professional, including psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health and substance abuse counselors can go online or call 808-375-2745 to sign up. You do not need health insurance, just an email and phone number to sign up!

 

PUBLIC HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK 

In honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month, here is a technique for you and your family to try that aims to reduce stress and anxiety. Emotional freedom technique (EFT), which people often refer to as EFT tapping, brings mindfulness to the body and focus to the issue causing stress and anxiety. As you tap each point shown on the image to the left, you acknowledge the burden or issue on your mind and convey self-acceptance in spite of it. For example you can choose to say out loud, “Even though I have [issue], I completely accept myself.” You would repeat this out loud each time you tap the eight points on your body.

 

DO YOU HAVE RESOURCES OR INFORMATION ON COVID-19 TO SHARE?

If you have any resources or updates we should include in our next email or on our website, feel free to contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org