By mid-January, COVID-19 vaccination effort could expand to include Hawaii seniors 75 and up

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Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 1:30 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 1:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii seniors ages 75 and older could begin to receive vaccines as early mid-January, Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

Green said there are about 109,000 people in the state who are 75 or older.

“And they are the most vulnerable when it comes to catching the disease,” he said.

According to the Department of Health, the state has now received 61,000 doses of the vaccine. Approximately 20,000 doses have been administered.

Green said a wider distribution is expected in the coming weeks.

The lieutenant governor also said there are already points of distribution sites, or pods, set up on Oahu. Sites are already set up at Leeward Community College as well as Windward Comprehensive Health Center.

Green said there are plans in early stages to set up a bigger site in downtown Honolulu, where more than 1,000 will be able to be vaccinated daily.

AARP Hawaii said the organization is happy to hear about opportunities on the horizon, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“I think the key issue, though, is transparency,” said Kealii Lopez, the AARP Hawaii state director.

“So many people are out there wondering where they fall within the priority of vaccinations. How do they find out if they qualify? Where do they go to get vaccinated? And what role does their physician play in determining whether it’s safe for them to take the vaccine?

“Those are issues that the state is going to have to address.”

Green said mass notifications should begin in two weeks with more information.

Inoculations at nursing homes began Tuesday in Hawaii, and Lopez said one of the hurdles that demographic faces includes ensuring proper consent.

“Many of these individuals are much older and care homes aren’t able to authorize their getting vaccinated themselves,” Lopez said. “And they need to have a family member who has authority to give consent.”

Hawaii Kai Retirement Community is more than happy to finally get their dates of vaccine distribution. The community said they have seen about six cases of the virus.

“The vaccine is for all residents, all associates,” said Adam Czmowski, the sales and marketing director at the community. “It will be two days, Jan. 7 and Jan. 8. We have about three quarters of our resident population signed up to get the vaccine. Everyone is super excited about it.”

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