Temporary vaccine shortage delays Maui’s first dose appointments

Coronavirus

WAILUKU, Hawaii (KHON2) — Supply shortages of vaccines caused issues in Maui County that forced health officials to cancel thousands of appointments. KHON2 learned the vaccination clinics at UH Maui College and Maui Memorial Medical Center are only administering second doses of the vaccine for now.

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The Maui Health spokeswoman told KHON2:

“Maui Health Community Vaccination Clinic had to close our clinic to first dose vaccination appointments last weekend. This meant we had to cancel over 5,000 first dose appointments that were booked through February 6. We have moved these 5,000 people into a separate priority group and will work with them directly to reschedule their appointments when we receive more vaccine to cover first dose needs. In addition, we had to put on hold just over 15,000 appointment requests because of lack of vaccine supply. Our appointment request form was the first step to register for a vaccination appointment. However, in the interim, until we receive more vaccine, we are assisting the many kupuna on Maui who need extra assistance with the online registration process. This will allow them to be ready to schedule an appointment once vaccine becomes available. The only vaccines we are administering now are for our existing second dose Pfizer vaccination appointments. These second dose appointments include the thousands we have already vaccinated within our community, and also our health care workforce. All parties affected, first and second dose individuals, have been communicated with on these changes. For more information, please go to www.mauihealth.org/covidvaccine

Maui Health statement on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

“Everybody’s a little surprised because the vaccine pipeline kind of shut down,” said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District Health Officer.

Dr. Pang’s clinic at Maui College has stopped taking people in for first dose vaccinations. He believes he has enough for the 4,000 people who were vaccinated the first time at the campus. The state has said it is constrained by the number of vaccines allocated by the federal government and is waiting for more.

“I think we can scrape by enough for their second shot, but we cannot give any new people, can’t bring any new people on board until we give the second shots,” said Dr. Pang.

It is a different story on Kauai where the vaccination process has been going well. Officials are vaccinating those in Group 1-B, with the hospitals vaccinating the kupuna and the Department of Heath Points of Distribution covering frontline essential workers.

“What we’re focusing on this week is really the food and agriculture sector. So food productions that we’re looking at, farmers and ranchers, and all of that in working on getting them in, as well as, people who are in care homes that are smaller,” said Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman.

Dr. Berreman said, supply has not been a huge issue for the county.

“It has slowed down the hospitals a little bit. They’ve scheduled people through next week,” Dr. Berreman said, “they’re waiting to schedule the week after that until they know what their vaccine supply is going to look like.”

Over on the Big Island, vaccinations for senior citizens 75 and older started on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Hilo Medical Center. In total, the state received about 154,000 vaccines and administered a little more than 70,000 statewide.

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