HONOLULU (KHON2) — Adventist Health Castle and Maui Memorial Health Center are two of the first hospitals to offer everyone in group 1-B — including kupuna 75 and over and all essential workers — the COVID-19 vaccine, but plans to expand vaccinations for that group are still being finalized, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

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The state’s vaccination plan is being rolled out in phases. Group 1-A was the first, made up of health care workers and those in long term care facilities. Kupuna 75 years and older who do not live in care homes are a part of group 1-B.

The DOH said, vaccinations for some in group 1-B have already started but plans to include the 75 and older set are still being worked out.

KHON2 received an email about Adventist Health on the morning of Friday, Dec. 8, welcoming all Windward residents in group 1-B to be vaccinated.

In a statement Adventist Health said:

“Over the past three weeks, Adventist Health Castle has administered over 2,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the Windward community. In alignment with Hawaii State Department of Health guidelines, we have been able to expand those eligible for vaccines to include people that live and/or work on the Windward side that are 75 years of age or older. Adventist Health Castle will be extending vaccine availability following the Department of Health’s guidance. For more information, visit CastleHealthGroupHawaii.com.”

Adventist Health statement on Friday, Jan. 8

Brooks Baehr, who works in DOH communications, said he had tried to reach Adventist Health Castle to find out more about it.

“We applaud Castle for taking the initiative to be aggressive and doing what we all want to do, which is to move deeper into 1B. And to reach some of our kupuna and other people who we think desperately want and deserve vaccinations. Why are they the only ones to do it? I can’t speak to why Castle has done that,” Baehr said.

On the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 8, Maui Health released a statement announcing they are opening vaccinations up to all Maui residents in group 1-B as well.

“We are excited to offer this life-saving vaccine to Hawaii residents,” said Maui Health CEO Mike Rembis, “it is critical we do everything we can to help vaccinate as many of our residents as possible to help stop this virus from causing additional harm.”

Maui Health’s Vaccine Clinic is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will begin accepting appointments Friday, Jan. 8, for these identified groups.

Maui residents can click here to find out how to schedule an appointment.

“We’re soon going to be reaching that 75 and older population, the kupuna, who we cherish so much we really want to take care of,” Baehr said. “And we’re really close to being able to announce ways that they’ll be able to sign up for the vaccine, and we believe there’ll be multiple avenues, they’ll be able to do that.”

The State has received 91,700 doses of the vaccine (54,600 Pfizer and 37,100 Moderna), according to DOH. They are expecting 17,550 more doses of Pfizer to arrive during the week of Monday, Jan. 11.

Baehr said, more than 35,000 people have already been vaccinated.

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