HONOLULU (KHON2) — A bigger rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is set to begin for kupuna as soon as the week of Monday, Jan. 18.
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House Speaker Scott Saiki held a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 12, to announce the states’ plan to launch two large community vaccination sites that will be opening to serve people over 75 years old and certain essential workers.
The announcement comes as officials gear up for the phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Hawaii Pacific Health (HPH) will be administering the vaccine first to kupuna 75 and older at the Pier 2 Cruise Terminal starting on Monday, Jan. 18. HPH says, they were able to reach out to folks through their electronic medical record and approximately 1,000 people have scheduled appointments beginning on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 19.
“We’re going to be able to systematically, at the start of it, get somewhere north of 1000 people through a day; ramping up in the next few weeks to somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 a day,” said HPH President and CEO Raymond Vara.
HPH tells KHON2:
“While we expect to get information on essential workers from the Department of Health shortly, we will focus on those ages 75+ and Tier 1A not affiliated with our hospitals and first responders.”
Individuals need an appointment to get vaccinated. HPH patients who have what is called a “MyChart” account will receive a notification to schedule an appointment. If the person is not an HPH patient, they will be asked to fill out an online appointment request form and a representative will contact them.
“We have experience – on the first day that we tried to vaccinate our employees – of crashing a phone system. So we absolutely understand that not everybody is tech savvy and can do these web links and so forth. But to get the first blush out there, we think that this is the way to go without crashing a phone system,” said Dr. Melinda Ashton, HPH Chief Quality Officer.
Officials say, they have plenty of space in terms of parking and there will be parking attendants to manage the flow.
“We also have overflow parking at Restaurant Row, Aloha Tower,” said Vara.
The second site will be located at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. Queen’s Health Systems, who will be managing vaccine administration at this location, says a web portal will soon be available to allow individuals to schedule an appointment to receive each dose of the vaccine.
“You will see on our websites ways to get to our scheduling. So, on ours, we’ll be bringing that up early next week,” said Dr. Jill Hoggard Green, Queen’s Health Systems President and CEO.
The statewide total number of vaccines administered is now more than 40,386.
The next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are people over the age of 65 and those with medical conditions that put them at a high-risk of COVID-19 complications.
For more information on how the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed across the state, click here.