West Hawaii Community Health Center held its second walk in vaccination clinic Friday at Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona.
The line formed at 7 a.m. for the no-appointment mega clinic that opened at 9 a.m. for kupuna age 70 and older and essential workers.
“We didn’t need to advertise this clinic,” said Natasha Ala, West Hawaii Community Health Center (WHCHC) Director of Marketing, Development and Grants. “The coconut wireless spread the word for us.”
Ala expected over 600 individuals would receive their Moderna vaccine Friday, surpassing last week’s clinic by 100 doses.
Clinic coordinator Roberta Losik, RN said the center will keep its Friday clinic at 600 doses until April 9, when it will step up to 800 vaccinations because that will be their fifth week and second doses will begin to be administered.
“We are trying to fill in the gaps for all other avenues,” she said referring to the Kona Community Hospital, Department of Health and other clinics.
The Friday clinic, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is able to accommodate 25 individuals every 15 minutes. If the line to enter was getting too long to comply with that schedule, individuals were given a “time card” to return. Once all of the allotted vaccines were used, individuals were asked to return the following week. Translation services were at the clinic to aid those who spoke little or no English.
Patients with a history of allergic reactions that are at higher risk for adverse effects were asked to make an appointment for the Kona Community Hospital’s clinics.
With the DOH opening up to group 1c on Monday which includes those age 65 and older, essential workers and those with high risk health conditions, Losik expects the next week to be “enormous.”
High risk is defined by the Department of Health as those age 16-64 with dialysis dependent end-stage renal disease, oxygen dependent respiratory disease, oxygen dependent cardiac disease and cancer or autoimmune disease undergoing active chemotherapy or immunosuppressive medication therapy at an infusion center.
The health center is still on the wait list for the Johnson and Johnson one dose vaccine, but once it is received it will be administered to the homeless population on this side of the island. Ala said 654 patients in their West Hawaii Clinics identify as homeless, and they will be partnering with Hope Services to reach those individuals.
WHCHC also held a vaccine clinic Saturday at its Kealakehe clinic for eligible residents of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands located mauka of the clinic. The by appointment only clinic had 100 individuals signed up.
“As a federally funded clinic, we are required to work with the special underserved population,” Ala said, noting this is the first clinic specifically targeting that population with plans to set up more targeted clinics in the near future.
To schedule an appointment to receive the Moderna vaccine via the Department of Health at the Tuesday clinic call (808) 300-1120.
To schedule a vaccination with Kona Community Hospital, call (808) 322-4451. Information can also be obtained via email to KCHCOVIDvaccine@hhsc.org.
Vaccinations are by appointment only at Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital. To request an appointment, email QNHCHVaccine@queens.org and include your name, date of birth, phone number, and employer if you are an essential worker.
“As a community health center we want to make this available to all of our vulnerable citizens,” said Losik. “We are doing our part.