AARP tele-town hall answers kupuna questions on COVID-19 vaccine


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Our kupuna are some of the most at risk of a severe case of COVID-19.

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They got to ask questions of Hawaii’s COVID-19 liason Dr. Josh Green, and acting state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble as AARP put together an hour long teleconference on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.

The burning question Saturday is when those in the 65 to 74 year old age group will be able to get vaccinated.

Currently they’re scheduled for group 1-C as the state works through finishing groups 1-A which was healthcare workers and those in long term care facilities and 1-B which is front line workers and those age 75 plus.

“Then the top of 1c is 65 plus to 74,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “It’s all gonna be blended together and its been on how much vaccine we get in. But I think we’re just a couple weeks away and we’ll need to constantly give people opportunities to sign up.”

Lt. Gov green says that the state has administered two thirds of the 203,000 doses they have received.

Dr. Kemble says they’re ready for more from the federal government.

“What we are facing right now is less supply that we actually have capacity to administer,” said Dr. Sarah Kemble, deputy state epidemiologist. “So we continue to wait for additional supplies to come in through the federal government to meet our capacity which will allow us to move more quickly through all of the groups.”

That could happen after the weekend.

“Yes, in fact it’s happening effectively in the next 72 hours,” said Green. “We received 32,000 doses last week. The new federal government is really accelerating the delivery of vaccines. So this week it’s going to be up about 16%. We’re going to get over 40,000 doses.”

Dr. Kemble and Green are watching studies to see if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine would be viable for kupuna should it get approved.

“We’ll have to look to see if the data supports that there is a better vaccine for the kupuna we can prioritize along those lines,” said Kemble.

For now with Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines, Dr. Kemble says medicine to treat potential side effects of the vaccine is ok but don’t do so as a preventative measure.

“There is some theoretical concern that if you take tylenol or ibuprofen before the shot as a pre-medication to avoid symptoms, you might blunt you’re immune response,” said Kemble. “If you take the shot and you develop those symptoms, and they are not tolerable for you I would still say take the medication after you develop the symptoms just to get through that symptom period.”

Another forum will be held Friday, February 12 at 2 p.m.
It’s a Zoom webinar that will be livestreamed on the AARP Hawaii Facebook page.

To register, click here.

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