HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state says as of last week, about 70,000 people got vaccinated statewide. Those numbers are expected to increase as the official launch of another large vaccination site on Oahu begins on Monday, Jan. 25, at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. The Queen’s Health Systems, which is running the clinic, says more than 12,000 appointments have been made so far.
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AARP Hawaii says they’re excited the capacity to vaccinate senior citizens 75 years old and older will increase, but they have heard some people express concerns.
“What we’ve been hearing is that people, in some ways, don’t know where to go yet,” said Kealii Lopez, State Director of AARP Hawaii. “We do know that some kupuna are having a hard time getting through. And so, I would just encourage family members to check in with their kupuna to see if they can help them get through.”
Appointments are needed and can be made online. If that’s not possible, folks can also call the Queen’s COVID-19 vaccination line at 808-691-2222. AARP is also working on solving transportation roadblocks.
“The other thing we’re trying to set up is working with the state to figure out how to get to homebound residents, people who perhaps aren’t going to be able to easily get to a mass vaccination site,” shared Lopez. “We’re worried about those who are struggling with that.”
AARP Hawaii will also be hosting a “tele-town hall” this Saturday. Folks can join via telephone or online and have an opportunity to ask questions to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green and Dr. Sarah Kemble from the State’s health department.
“The center is going to help to alleviate the backlog that we’re seeing now,” said House Speaker Scott Saiki.
As Oahu begins to vaccinate more residents, House Speaker Saiki says the health department has been maximizing their requests for vaccines every week from the federal government.
“I know that in other states, mass vaccination centers are still being set up,” said the House Speaker. “But we have to do better. We have to, the government (has to), state government has to do a better job in vaccinating more people.”
Queen’s says they’re concerned about the unpredictability of the number of vaccines they’ll receive, but there have been no cancellations so far. Queen’s says the Blaisdell clinic will be open every day except Tuesdays. People should bring their ID and insurance card. Parking is also free.