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Posted on May 6, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

WAIPAHU — In partnership with health care providers and state health officials, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) is launching a statewide effort to vaccinate thousands of eligible public school students now that vaccines are available to residents 16 years and older.

The initiative kicked off at Waipahu High School today with a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic on wheels sponsored by Hawai‘i Pacific Health. Based on current enrollment and student ages, the population of students ages 16 and older in Hawai‘i public schools is approximately 32,000.

“Part of our effort to keep reducing the impact of COVID in our schools involves expanding the number of fully vaccinated individuals on our campuses beyond employees to include eligible students. Every vaccinated student will help to protect the overall health of their school community, friends and families,” Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said.

“To that end, we are working closely with the state Department of Health and health care providers to deploy school-based vaccination clinics at all of our high schools in the coming weeks,” Unebasami said. “We are very appreciative of the collective effort by our health care providers in the state to ensure our students have this opportunity.”

On Oahu, providers including Hawai‘i Pacific Health, The Queen’s Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Adventist Health Castle and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center will be standing up school-based vaccination clinics to administer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine — with parent consent — over the next three weeks before the school year ends May 28. Planning is underway with providers on the neighbor islands. Based on availability, adult household members will be eligible to get vaccinated with their enrolled student.

“Vaccinating our community — young and old — will allow us more freedom to be with each other,” said Dr. Libby Char, director of the state Department of Health, which is helping coordinate the mobile clinics and supply vaccines. “Vaccination will make it much safer for us to get back to school and work.”

As the Department continues to plan for next school year, the ultimate goal is to safely resume daily in-person learning and activities for as many students as possible.

“Now that more students are vaccinated they’ll be able to come back to campus and feel like they’re in a safe environment,” Waipahu High School teacher Danna Usevitch said. “It’s a game changer to be able to interact with the students in person instead of just talking to my computer all day.”

Waipahu High School junior Kien Leong, who got vaccinated today, shared the excitement of more students getting vaccinated. “I’m looking forward to getting back to a normal life — going back to school, going back to sports and having more freedom without feeling scared,” Leong said.

The rollout of student vaccinations follows the Department’s efforts to provide employees with vaccination opportunities. Beginning in January HIDOE staff and service providers were prioritized for vaccines as “frontline essential workers.” Some 20,000 individuals who wanted access to the vaccine — including more than 11,000 teachers and more than 1,000 contractors including bus drivers, custodians, health aides and office staff — were inoculated.


Date* Oahu High School Provider
Week of May 3 Waipahu Hawaii Pacific Health
Week of May 10 Farrington, Kapolei, Campbell, ‘Aiea, Pearl City, Kalani Hawaii Pacific Health
Wai‘anae, Nānākuli Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center
Kailua Kaiser Permanente
Kalaheo Adventist Health Castle
Week of May 17 Kaimukī, Radford, Moanalua Hawaii Pacific Health
Leilehua, Mililani, Waialua The Queen’s Medical Center
McKinley The Queen’s Medical Center
Roosevelt, ‘Ānuenue, Kaiser Kaiser Permanente
Week of May 24 Castle Hawaii Pacific Health
Kahuku Adventist Health Castle


*Dates subject to change. Please check with your child’s school for details.