Hundreds get COVID-19 vaccine at Hawaii’s largest assisted living facility

Kupuna and staff start to get COVID-19 vaccinations at Hawaii Kai Retirement Community.
Kupuna and staff start to get COVID-19 vaccinations at Hawaii Kai Retirement Community.(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Kai Retirement Community, the largest assisted living facility in the state, is starting to vaccinate its staff and residents against COVID-19.

Elderly in congregate living settings are considered high risk and that’s why they are among the first in the vaccine rollout.

Adam Dolak, general manager of Hawaii Kai Retirement Community, said about 350 people at the facility will be vaccinated over a two-day period. CVS will be administering the Moderna shots.

“It’s a pretty sizable undertaking. We have five pharmacists working all day long,” said Dolak.

Alma Cirino, 89, says she feels safer now that she’s got the shot.

“We all need to get to herd immunity so all of us are protected. It’s like measles and mumps like what we used to take as children,” she said.

It’s been a tough year for all long-term care homes, dealing with cases and restrictions while trying to prevent residents from feeling isolated.

“We fought very hard to balance that for safety with the need for people to live their lives,” said Dolak.

“That was the most challenging. Not being able to see their family so in a way we are their family,” added charge nurse Jacqueline Brock.

She says she’s happy about the added layer of protection.

“I feel good. I feel absolutely fine,” said Brock, shortly after getting a dose.

This reporter’s 88-year-old mother, Helen, is another resident at the facility who got the vaccine.

“As ready as can be,” said Helen Richardson, before getting the shot.

The second dose is in four weeks and the facility says there is sufficient supply.

The retirement community says no one has had adverse side effects so far and for them, getting this voluntary vaccine offers a glimmer of hope.

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