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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: How is Hawaii doing on adolescent vaccinations?

Question: How is Hawaii doing on adolescent vaccinations? I am so concerned for this group with the delta variant. I fear that some parents were complacent before this surge, thinking their kids wouldn’t get sick even if they caught COVID-19.

Answer: Less than half of Hawaii’s children ages 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated as of Friday, according to the state Department of Health. A total of 63% had initiated vaccination, and nearly 49% had completed the full dosage. The Pfizer vaccine available to that age group has a 21-day interval between the first and second shots.

The vaccination rate for the 12-to-17 age group is the lowest of any eligible age group in Hawaii, according to the state’s COVID-19 portal. As of Friday, the “fully vaccinated” percentage was nearly 55% of people 18 to 29; 61% of those 30 to 39; 71% of those 40 to 49; 80% of those 50 to 64; 97% of those 65 to 74; and 92% of those 75 and older, according to the portal.

COVID-19 vaccination has been available to children ages 12 and up since mid-May. For a list of vaccination sites by county, go to For adolescents, choose a site that offers the Pfizer vaccine.

Children younger than 12 are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Case counts among children are rising in Hawaii, as you indicated.

Q: Will the unemployment office still be opening up soon even though there’s this surge?

A: Yes, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations still plans to open its offices for in- person appointments in September, said spokesman William Kunstman.

The department previously announced that in- person service would be available starting Sept. 7. Details about how to make an appointment should be released about two weeks prior to that date, Kunstman said Friday.

In the meantime, a reservation system is scheduled to open Monday for people with complex, disputed unemployment insurance claims to make a telephone appointment with an adjudicator, the DLIR said in a news release. The first appointments would be Aug. 23.

“The appointments will provide an opportunity for claimants to speak directly to UI adjudicators to assist with fact-finding on their claims,” the release said. Claimants will be able to request appointments through a link at labor.

Q: I finally threw in the towel after working nonstop and being fed up by the rude behavior of customers — I never thought I would see that in Hawaii. This is at a regular restaurant, not one with a lot of tourists. I saved my own money over the years and changed jobs a lot. I know there are rules about withdrawing money for retirement, but I’m not sure they would apply in my case. How can I find out?

A: You seem to be referring to Required Minimum Distributions, which apply to all employer-sponsored retirement plans, as well as to traditional IRAs and IRA-based plans, once the account holder reaches a certain age, the IRS said. The RMD rules do not apply to Roth IRAs while the owner is alive. The IRS has an extensive FAQ on this topic at Please note that pandemic- era updates are linked from that page.


Government agencies and the media and anyone else who shares information should stop saying schools are giving “free meals” or the state is giving “free services,” or “free this” or “free that.” The word free needs to be replaced by the words taxpayer-supported. These are not free meals, they are taxpayer-supported meals. There are no free government services, there are taxpayer-supported serv­ices. Make sure everyone knows that “we the people” are paying for all of this. There is no such entity as government money. — Irate reader

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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