‘We are seeing good progress’: Over 10,000 doses administered via Kona mega clinics

  • Vaccinated individuals wait 15 minutes after receiving their dose Friday at Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Joe Killian receives his vaccine shot from Hawaii National Guard medic Brad Transfiguracion Friday at Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Mega vaccine clinics at Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona continue, with more than 10,000 vaccines administered in March alone.

Aided by the Hawaii National Guard, Hawaii County Civil Defense and Parks and Recreation staff, the state Department of Health (DOH), Kona Community Hospital (KCH) and West Hawaii Community Health Center (WHCHC) have been holding weekly vaccination clinics that are now open to individuals 18 years of age and older.

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The Hawaii National Guard provides support for the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday clinics by setting up the gym, outside tents, administering vaccines, disinfecting, traffic control, breaking down and storing equipment for each clinic day.

In the month of March, 10,070 vaccines were delivered at the mega clinics with an average of 800 per week from DOH, 1,400 KCH and 700 from WHCHC.

DOH Health Educator Jason Dela Cruz said that as of Thursday, the department since late December has delivered 21,748 doses islandwide with 7,500 doses on the west side alone. KCH has administered a total of 15,961 doses at its hospital and mega clinic.

“We are seeing good progress on the island,” said Dela Cruz. “As long as people are providing arms, we will provide shots.”

Statewide 906,777 doses have been administered with 102,629 on the Big Island. As of Friday, 33% of the Big Island population had received at least one dose and 19% had completed the vaccination process, according to the Department of Health. An estimated 55% of the population age 60 and older has received at least one dose with 71% of the island’s kupuna 75 and older having received at least one dose. About 63% of kupuna 75 and older are fully inoculated.

Meanwhile Friday, the Big Island’s COVID-19 case count increased by four, bringing the total case count to 2,561.

Statewide, 87 new cases were reported Friday by the Department of Health. Oahu reported 67 of those cases, Maui County 11 and Kauai with no new cases. Five residents were diagnosed while outside the state.

Statewide, 30,571 people have tested positive for COVID-19 since the end of last February. The Big Island on Friday had a 1.5% test positivity rate, just under the statewide rate of 1.7%.

Over the past two weeks, the Big Island has reported 143 cases, or an average of 10.2 cases per day. In the past 14 days, 48 cases have been reported in Hilo and 46 in Kailua-Kona.

A number of those Kona cases were tied to a cluster of cases associated with the University of the Nations in Kona. According to the state’s Thursday cluster report, 32 cases have been tied the faith-based school.

Two other clusters were reported by the state on Thursday. One was related to a social gathering in which 12 people were infected. The other was connected to a place of worship with a total of six cases.

Statewide, 51 people were hospitalized Friday, with four hospitalized on the Big Island. To date, 2,376 people have required hospitalization, including 121 on the Big Island.

No new coronavirus-related deaths were reported on Friday by the state. Of the 470 coronavirus-related deaths confirmed and reported by the state to date, 370 were on Oahu, 43 were on Maui, 53 were on the Big Island and one on Kauai. Three deaths were among residents outside the state.

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 Pfizer vaccination with KCH, call (808) 322-4451. Information can also be obtained via email to KCHCOVIDvaccine@hhsc.org.

WHCHC hosts a Friday walk-in clinic and there is no appointment required to receive the Moderna vaccine at Kekuaokalani Gymnasium.

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Pfizer vaccinations are by appointment only at Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea. To request an appointment, email QNHCHVaccine@queens.org and include your name, date of birth, and phone number.

For other locations providing vaccines, visit health.hawaii.gov/big-island/hawaii-county-covid-19-information.