HONOLULU (KHON2) — About 1,300 appointments were booked on opening day of the mass vaccination site at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Officials say it’s only the beginning.
[Hawaii news on the go–LISTEN to KHON 2GO weekday mornings at 7:30 a.m.]
The Blaisdell clinic, run by the Queen’s Health Systems, has welcomed senior citizens 75 years old and older to get vaccinated. Queen’s says they have thousands of appointments booked already.
“To make it look as smooth and as easy operating as it looks today is no small wonder,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.
Queen’s says more than 80 people are helping to staff the clinic and they’re looking to expand.
“So we are looking forward to, just as our partners Hawaii Pacific Health are, expand to not 1,000 people a day getting vaccinated but hopefully at our peak 5,000 people a day getting vaccinated,” said Queen’s Health Systems President and CEO Jill Hoggard Green.
Folks can make an appointment online or by phone. Officials say on the first day they opened, their call centers were flooded with about 13,000 calls in the course of two hours.
“So our phone lines and our staff were not prepared for that. But over the last week, and with the help of our partners, we’ve been able to manage those calls and help make appointments,” said Dr. Julius Pham, Patient Safety Officer.
Queen’s says they’re booking appointments one month out and they make sure they have second doses for every participant.
“We’re hearing that there’s a national issue of not enough vaccines, and we are all concerned about that,” said Hoggard Green. “So as we look at our appointments, we close appointments when we don’t see that we have enough to ensure that we can give you your first dose and that we can give you your second dose.”
Dr. Pham says they’re looking at eventually distributing the vaccine to their clinics.
“In the future, we’ll be giving them at all of your doctor’s offices so that we don’t have to come to a large vaccination center like this,” he said.