Kupuna can join vaccine waitlist

  • Courtesy of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation Kaua‘i Region

    A registered nurse at Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department in Kapa‘a administers a dose of the Pfizer vaccine to a kupuna earlier this month.

LIHU‘E — Kupuna over 75 who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine have an opportunity Friday at Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation’s Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital in Kapa‘a.

Both hospitals have over 100 appointment slots open for Jan. 29, according to an HHSC Kaua‘i Region flyer posted Monday.

Kupuna over 75 can sign up for their appointments, and kupuna ages 65 and older can sign up to be put on a waitlist.

“If you are under the age of 75 and have requested an appointment, please note that we have put you on our waitlist,” said Jackie Kanna, external communication and marketing spokesperson for HHSC.

“We will call you back in the order your request was received when we open up the next group.”

Daily, staff return calls to those over 75 who have submitted requests.

Starting this week, kupuna caregivers will no longer be offered the vaccine, which is in line with a statewide announcement last week.

Walk-in appointments will not be accepted for vaccine distribution. Online requests only need to be submitted once at kauai.hhsc.org. Those experiencing difficulties can contact the county’s Office of Elderly Affairs at 241-4470.

“The office can help you sign up on the website, but they can’t change where you are in line,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday.

Language barriers

Kaua‘i has become an example of health equity and expanding outreach services, said state Department of Health Deputy Director Cathy Ross during a joint information briefing between the state Senate’s Committee on Health and state House’s Committee on Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness.

Recognizing the language barriers within the agriculture-laboring community, the department mobilized outreach utilizing bilingual health workers and public-health nurses on Kaua‘i.

“When we reached out to agriculture workers, we realized many had language barriers that made registering online very difficult, especially in a first-come, first-serve situation,” Ross explained.

“Unfortunately, these first-come, first-serve situations that use technology often leave the people that really should be closer to the front of the line closer to the back, if they’re in line at all.”

It didn’t stop there, Ross said, “We did outreach to these agriculture workers so that we could understand their needs, the limitations of their working environment, and allow them to be able to (get vaccinated).”

Agriculture workers are part of phase 1B, which includes those who are in positions that provide essential services who cannot work remotely, like first responders, educators and school staff, and those working at grocery stores and as farmers. Phase 1A included health-care personnel and those in long-term-care facilities.

“If we didn’t do this outreach effort, which takes a little bit more time and effort, there’s a good chance these important agricultural members may never have been able to register as part of 1B,” Ross said. “We want to minimize that happening.”

Vaccine efforts

About 8,799 people on Kaua‘i have received a vaccine, out of the state’s approximately 109,808, said state DOH Acting Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.

Those numbers include both those getting their first and second dosages of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

As of Monday, the state has received about 203,600 doses in all.

Weekly, the number of vials changes. For example, the first week available, the state got 4,875, and in the second week of January, the state received 55,750. The week of Jan. 24, the state had received 32,625.

DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char estimated that, should supplies increase as the federal government has anticipated, those who wish to get vaccinated could have their immunity by the fall.

“We want to make sure that those who really need the vaccine are getting it,” Char said. “If we can get a little bit more vaccine we can probably get just about everybody who wants a vaccine vaccinated probably into August or September.”

But if the numbers remain the same, Char said it’ll take longer.

The state has the ability to administer between 60,000 to 70,000 doses per week. Each island is at different phases of release, with about 200,000 people in phase 1B.

Kaua‘i has about 5% of the state’s population over the age of 16, or around 58,308 people.

Kemble reported that about 8% of those available to receive the vaccine have received it on Kaua‘i.

A little over 18,000 people in the state have gotten their second doses, mostly health-care personnel and those in long-term-care facilities.

“The primary challenge here is vaccine supply that we hope will improve in the near future. But we know right now we need to maintain a more structured approach right now,” said Danette Wong Tomiyasu, DOH deputy director of health resources.

Char said the state has an inadequate supply for the current demand. A survey shows more than half of survey respondents want to receive the vaccine when it’s their spot in line.

“I’m happy with where we are now,” Char said. “It’ll never be 100% because we can’t administer what we don‘t have.”


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com. Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com, and contributed to this report.

  1. I saw a Vampire once January 27, 2021 1:11 am Reply

    Wouldn’t this vaccine do more harm than good? At their age, they have made it out of the woods. A side effect from the vaccine could kill them. Taking the COVID-19 vaccine is a health risk at that age. They may end up dying. Look what happened to Hank Aaron? He died at 86. It doesn’t matter. My point is that this vaccine may do more damage.

  2. Ima Muun January 27, 2021 11:43 pm Reply

    Frontline emergency medical doctors say that the majority of elderly people who become seriously ill with the Covid-19 virus, are, besides being elderly, are also obese or considerably fat, and have diabetes along with vascular disease like hypertension or high blood pressure, as well as heart and stroke disease.

    These are the people who are at very high risk and should use the threat of Covid-19 virus as a reason to change, or as a wake up call to change their diet to include only healthy food, and no unhealthy foods.

    Healthy foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as unprocessed food such as the heavier whole wheat breads over soft white bread and all pastries.

    It is very important to eat foods that DO NOT contain any chemicals and the many types of processed sugars.

    Remember food or it’s contents are either nutritious or NON-nutritious, or the contents can be combinations of both. Avoid non-nutrient foods even if mixed with nutritious foods.

    NON-nutrient food is a burden on both the immune system and the excretory organs to rid the body of these toxic poisons in the body.

    Nutrient foods are what are intelligently used by the body to make up our cells, tissues, and organs, and/or be part of the systems and functions of our bodies and the organs that make us functional human beings.

    Since our bodies’ vascular systems, i.e., veins, arteries, and lymphatic vessels, that carry nutrients and oxygen to all of our body’s cells, tissues, and organs are used to regenerate and/or rejuvenate our cells, and also circulate the immune system’s defensive cells, as well as perform the excretory processes…well the vascular system is water soluble, so using or adding , or having oil, fats, and/or grease in our foods is anti-Health.

    Avoid oils, fats, and grease in what you eat.

    If your are at high risk for Covid-19 virus, and you strictly follow the above information you will make your immune system more optimal in defeating the Covid-19 virus, and you can reverse obesity and the accompanying diseases, allowing you a greater optimal amount of Life Longevity.

    What you put in your mouth is either for you or against you, especially alcohol, chemicals, drugs and/or smoking of any kind.

    Only you can make yourself live natural to be an active, Healthy 110 year old. You have the intelligent potencial inside of you.

    Know when to close your mouth to NON-Healthy and NON-Nutrient foods and things, keep them out of your body.

  3. Mr.Ford January 28, 2021 12:32 pm Reply

    I will never take the vacation. I will not be among the ignorant on the Day of Judgment. I will be marked off from those who have there marks. Everything is in God’s hands. Not a leaf falls, not a hair falls off of a creature. No one dies, no one is born. No one is sick no one is healed but by God’s leave. This is not a plague. This is your typical sickness and people die from this sickness for 1000s of years. You have the dajjal and his evil ones paving the way for his’ entrance. New world order are for the ignorant to obey.

  4. ken nakazawa February 6, 2021 5:49 pm Reply

    IM TRYIng to get covid vaccine.

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