Maui Health plans to increase number of vaccine appointments

WAILUKU — Maui Health announced plans to increase the number of first-dose coronavirus vaccination appointments, while Kauai has widened the availability of vaccine doses.

The nonprofit health care organization for Maui and Lanai said it will raise the number of weekly vaccines to 3,000 beginning next week and 4,000 the following week, The Maui News reported Thursday.

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Maui Health is nearing completion of the final 1,000 of 5,000 appointments that were rescheduled after clinics closed in January because of vaccine shortages, spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda said.

Maui Health opened a satellite vaccine clinic Wednesday at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Kihei that will operate Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment.

The clinic has 500 doses of Moderna vaccine and plans to use them over the next two weeks, offering 200 appointments this week and 300 appointments next week.

Maui Memorial Medical Center will redirect some Pfizer doses to the Kihei clinic while awaiting another delivery of Moderna vaccine to use as second doses, Dallarda said.

“What we’re trying to do is really ramp up the number of appointments that we can take,” Dallarda said.

The County of Kauai has opened its vaccine distribution to residents aged 75 and over, The Garden Island reported Thursday.

The island’s clinics previously focused on vaccinating frontline essential workers.

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The Hawaii State Department of Health said 59% of Kauai residents in the older age bracket have received at least one dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

“The demand for the vaccine has been extremely high, and we’re pleased to add two more days for our kupuna to help protect them from the COVID-19 virus,” said Jen Chahanovich, CEO of Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Medical Clinic.

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