Hawaii ramps up outreach efforts to reach vulnerable communities, curb vaccine hesitancy

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii State Department of Health has launched a full-scale outreach effort to make sure every resident who wants a COVID-19 vaccination can get one.

Several government agencies, private-sector and non-profit partners are collaborating in this effort.

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“We’re working hard to understand people’s reservations and barriers to accessing the vaccine and to provide information and education about the vaccines and the disease in order to allow people to make informed decisions and access vaccine if they choose to,” Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health, said in a news release on Thursday, April 29.

Char said personalized and door-to-door outreach will be key to reaching more individuals who want the vaccine since, “Nothing can replace this kind of relationship-oriented outreach.”

The collaborative effort has focused on vulnerable populations, especially for those who speak English as their second language and may not know how to register. DOH said teams are bringing the vaccinations into their communities.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) oversees 85 properties with a total of 6,270 low-income public housing units across the State. Last year, DOH partnered with Hawaii National Guard members and interpreters to canvas more than 2,400 units at 23 public housing properties on Oahu and Big Island to provide educational flyers about the vaccine.

The HPHA continues to work with:

  • Hawai‘i Department of Health
  • State Executive Office on Aging
  • Elderly Affairs Division, Department of Community Services, City and County of Honolulu
  • AARP Hawai‘i
  • Hawai‘i Department of Health Public Health Nursing Branch
  • Hawai‘i Department of Health Medical Reserve Corps
  • Hawai‘i National Guard
  • Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
  • Hawai‘i Public Health Institute
  • Project Vision
  • Hawai‘i Pacific Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • The Queen’s Health Systems
  • 5 Minute Pharmacy
  • Pharmacare Hawai‘i
  • Times Pharmacy
  • Papa Ola Lokahi, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Waianae Coast Comprehensive Family Health Center
  • We Are Oceania

“We recognize that many of our beneficiaries live along the Leeward Coast and providing local access to the COVID-19 vaccine is critically important,” said William J. Aila, Jr., chairman of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. “We’re grateful for the collaboration with The Queen’s Health Systems, Waianae Coast Comprehensive; and Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority.”

Over the past two months, teams have reached out to elderly and disabled tenants to administer vaccines. They will now be reaching out to family members living in public housing.

Vaccination clinics were recently held at Kalihi Valley Homes, Palolo Valley Homes and Mayor Wright Homes. The following are upcoming vaccination clinics:

  • Waianae Protestant Church
    Sunday, May 2
    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Kamehameha Homes (AMP 33)
    Tuesday, May 4
    2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Initial reports stated that the vaccination clinic at Kamehameha Homes was scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It was later corrected to 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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