Hospitals and clinics across Maui County eager for arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Dec. 14, 2020 at 5:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui Memorial Medical Center is expecting 975 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with shots in arms administered sometime next week. It hopes to inoculate 100 health care workers per day over 2 weeks.

“All of us are so ready for the safety that this vaccine potentially provides,” said Dr. Michael Shea, the Chief Medical Director at Maui Health.

This week, staff will practice the vaccination process.

“The challenge is trying to maintain social distancing and being safe about it,” said Dr. Shea, who will be among those getting the shots.

“Not having to constantly walk on eggshells and be hyper vigilant about being worried about contracting a disease that can be fatal. It’s been very very frightening for a lot of folks, and I think this vaccine may be the end to that,” he added.

Dr. Lorrin Pang of the Maui District Health Office says of the roughly 700 high-contact healthcare workers polled, 60 percent said they wanted to take the vaccine. Only 2 respondents said no, and the rest did not answer.

“I’m eager to get it to protect myself, my family, my patients and the community,” said Dr. John Janikowski of Straub Medical Center’s Lanai Clinic.

Dr. Janikowski expects to get a shot by Friday as part of 13 initial doses anticipated for the clinic. He was treating patients who were sickened during a recent outbreak.

Despite challenges of rural medicine and no ultra-low temperature freezer, Janikowski says vaccinating the small population will be easier.

“We have been informed when the vaccine comes to us, it’ll be stored on dry ice with a shelf life of at least 5 days,” said Dr. Janikowski. “We’ve been told that the additional dry ice will be made available.”

Molokai General will get its vaccines from Queen’s Medical Center. The Healthcare Association of Hawaii says all hospitals can expect some vaccine next week.

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