Kona hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine registration phone line fixed

Kona Community Hospital said Tuesday afternoon technical issues with its COVID-19 vaccine registration phone line have been fixed.

However, the dedicated email set up for people to ask questions is still having issues, said hospital spokeswoman Judy Donovan, adding staff was still working to address the problem.

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Reports of issues with the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine registration line and email began coming in to West Hawaii Today as the system went live Tuesday morning. Donovan said the phone line (808) 322-4451 experienced difficulty due to the high volume of calls on the first day.

By mid-day, the hospital had remedied the phone issues and was taking down names and numbers and calling people back to register them. The registration process takes at least 15 minutes, Donovan said. A full-time employee is being assigned to handle registration starting Monday, and the hospital is considering adding an online registration method for those able to use computers and smartphones.

“We had an overwhelming response from community members wanting to schedule an appointment, which caused a backlog of calls. We are smoothing out our processes from today’s ‘lessons learned,’” the hospital said in an update. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through the processes of launching this phase of the COVID-19 vaccine program.”

Donovan asked that people do not call the hospital unless they are age 75 and over or are a caregiver assisting a kupuna. They also should not come to the facility without an appointment.

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Vaccinations are set to begin Thursday with the first kupuna receiving their shot between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Starting Feb. 6, the facility will offer kupuna vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both Thursdays and Saturdays.

The state Department of Health is handling registration for those 74 and under. Information on how to register for vaccine shots is available at https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccination-registration.

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