Vaccine rollout for educators begins

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chiefess Kamakahele Middle School music instructor Sarah Tochiki is among the teachers receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Monday from Dr. Randy Blake at the Point of Distribution at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea High School teacher Tiani Kajiwara holds her daughter Tiare, Monday as she receives her first dose of Moderna vaccine from Nurse Rebecca O’Brien at the Point of Distribution at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.

LIHU‘E — Tiani Kajiwara showed off her right arm proudly to her daughter, Tiare, Monday afternoon.

Kajiwara, a Waimea High School teacher, received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall along with over 500 others.

“Our phased vaccine distribution program is in full force on Kaua‘i,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday during the Team Kaua‘i COVID-19 briefing.

Groups vaccinated this week include front-line essential workers, including teachers and staff at schools, preschools and daycares, those working in food or agricultural settings, grocery stores, postal workers and residents of small care homes, Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman added.

“If you are in one of these groups, you will be notified by your employer or industry groups about when and where to go for your vaccine,” Berreman said.

Kajiwara misses her students and hopes this is a step to get back to normal.

Sarah Tochiki, band director at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Lihu‘e, sat at the station next to Kajiwara for her injection and expressed the same wish.

“As a teacher, I want to stand in front of my students and not have to worry,” Tochiki said.

Tochiki described teaching during the pandemic as challenging trying to keep class as normal as possible for students, but there are still countless opportunities to keep students engaged through creative projects.

“Whatever I can do to make sure students are having a positive experience,” Tochiki said.

Over 3,000 people have already been vaccinated on Kaua‘i, according to a county release.

“Vaccines are being offered to specific groups, with pre-registration, at hospitals, at the Department of Health vaccination center at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, and in the case of residential care facilities, at those facilities,” Berreman said. “We anticipate there will be more vaccination opportunities as more vaccines arrive on our island.”

Berreman still urges caution to those with the first round of vaccine dose.

“I wanted to be clear that even if you have already been vaccinated, it is still important to take precautions,” Berreman said. “Kaua‘i can maintain our low rates by continuing to avoid large gatherings, wear masks when outside the home around non-household members, avoid unnecessary travel, and follow state and county rules related to travel, quarantine, and testing.”

Beginning Friday, Jan. 15 and into next week, kupuna over 75 may start getting vaccines with an appointment through three hospitals on island.

For more information on scheduling an appointment at Wilcox Medical Center in Lihu‘e, visit For information on an appointment at Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital in Kapa‘a, visit

  1. merri January 12, 2021 7:28 am Reply

    i guess the providers dont believe in gloves…

  2. Gooding January 12, 2021 2:59 pm Reply

    So negative…..

  3. Septuo Generoso January 12, 2021 9:49 pm Reply

    I’m 75 and feel fine and I’m very active, I have no old people diseases and take no prescription drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, nor do I eat junk or fast food.

    Why would i want to risk losing my health and active life by taking an injection of a laboratory made disease, the VACCINE, one of the vaccines, has chimpanzee virus in it.. To me the risk of the vaccine is not worth it. Already people are passing out, going into shock and other side effects.

    If you take the vaccine you may not be alive later to regret it.

    I put my faith in all the years I’ve stayed proactively healthy and not doctors and their drugs with so many side effects and need to take more drugs for the side effects.

    I’m looking forward to being 100 healthy and active and enjoying my family, Kauai, and swimming with my surfing friends, not to mention trolling the 40 for mahi.

    When I was young I could feel prescription drugs weakened me and my immune system.

    None of that stuff for me anymore.

    I heard a saying:
    Life = Motion… the proof is: All Dead Things don’t Move. Keep on keeping on!

    Keep Active and stay away from every kind of chemicals.

    Eat naturally…like a flying bumblebee.p

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