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Keiki from across the island sent us questions about COVID-19.
Real experts in education and health are helping answer keiki questions here.

Ola's Advice

We've Got Answers

What does the COVID vaccine do?

Answered by: 

Learn More about Vaccines

When is COVID going to end?

Answered by: 

  • Dr. Mark Mugiishi, HMSA president and CEO

When can we go back to school on campus?

Answered by:

When can I see my cousins again?

Answered by: 

If I’m sick, can I still go out in public if I wash my hands, wear a mask and social distance?

Answered by: 

How do we make distance learning more fun?

Answered by: 

I’m happy nana and grandpa and tutu and papa are vaccinated because that means I can see my best friend now and still see them.

Jace, age 6

I love the shot because it protects Mama from COVID.

Easton, age 4

Mama gets the shot, that means we can play!

Zoe, age 2

I’m happy the grownups are getting vaccinated so my friends can play together
and the grownups won’t get their goopy germs on me.

Theo, age 4

How do vaccines for other people change how I should act on a normal day?

It’s exciting to know that as more folks get vaccinated, our community is steadily becoming better at preventing the spread of the virus. But until the majority of people have immunity — their bodies are protected so they won’t get sick — we all need to keep doing what we can to stop the virus from hopping from person to person. We all need to wear masks, wash hands and respect the bubble, even folks who have already gotten the vaccine. 

Why are some people getting vaccines and not others?

We want to make sure the people who are most at-risk get it first. That means our kupuna and people who may have other health problems are first in line because they would probably have a really bad case of COVID if they get it. It also means our front-line workers get vaccines first because we depend on them to take care of our community; we need healthy doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, educators and others to continue to help us. The State of Hawaiʻi shared their plan for who gets in line for the vaccine first, so we can best protect our community. As more vaccine doses continue to arrive, more people will get their turn until everyone has had a chance.

As of May 2021, anyone aged 12+ is eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine; Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to anyone 18+. Scientists are working right now to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective for younger keiki, and as soon as they have all the evidence that proves the vaccine is good for smaller kids, our health care providers will make sure those keiki are able to access the vaccine as well.

If the adults around me are vaccinated, does that mean we can expand our bubbles?

When your family makes a decision about how many folks will be in your COVID safety bubble, it’s important to think about how much the virus is spreading in your community, whether the folks you’re bubbling with all agree to the same bubble safety ideas, as well as how many of the adults have been vaccinated. Until the majority of people in your community have been vaccinated, it’s best to keep bubbles small so everyone can still stay safe from the virus.

If a person is vaccinated, does that mean they can be done with masks and social distancing?

It is really important that we all, including people who have been vaccinated, keep using masks and continue to respect the bubble. It cuts down the possibility that folks could unknowingly pass along virus germs, and helps everyone continue these healthy habits by keeping them normal and fair for everyone.

Where can my family members find out how to get a vaccine?

The best place to go for reliable, official information is

Will the vaccine end COVID-19 so things can go back to normal?

The vaccine is a really powerful tool in the toolbox we’re using to end the pandemic in Hawaiʻi. It can help people strengthen their bodies so they can fight off the virus without getting sick if they come into contact with it. And to prevent contact in the first place, we know what to do: wear masks, wash hands and respect the bubble. When the majority of people in our community are vaccinated, the virus won’t have anywhere to go, and as the number of people who have the virus goes down, more freedom to do things like see friends, hug Tutu, dance with your halau and play team sports will come.

Why do you have to go twice for shots instead of once?

With some vaccinations, a second shot helps to “boost” your body’s defense. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines work that way. After your first dose, your immunity to the virus improves, but not nearly as much as after you get the second dose. This helps to sustain your body’s natural defenses to the disease. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine works very well with just one dose.

How is it similar or different from other vaccines?

Vaccines work by telling your body to be prepared for a disease before you get the real thing allowing your natural defenses to prevent getting sick. Many vaccines work in similar ways but may work differently based on how they are made. Current COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) technology to tell your body to get ready. mRNA are chunks of genetic material in all cells that help to carry out construction of cellular functions like a blueprint for construction.

Can you get sick from getting the vaccine?

Some people that get the vaccine do feel a little sick after receiving it. However, it is due to your body’s response to the vaccine, and this is part of the process of building your protection. Severe reactions to the vaccine are rare but possible so everyone receiving the vaccine is observed afterwards to make sure they are OK.

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Keiki Heroes promotes health education materials that are culturally relevant and age-appropriate to support the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of children in Hawai‘i. We believe that keiki can be heroes by helping themselves and others to adopt healthy habits to support community health.

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