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Hundreds get immunized at Oahu’s first mass vaccination site

Updated: Jan. 18, 2021 at 4:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The soggy weather didn’t deter kupuna eager to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from filing into the cruise ship terminal at Pier 2 Monday morning.

It marked the official launch of the mass vaccination site.

Officials say health care personnel were scheduled to immunize a little more than 600 people Monday.

Ronnie Callado was one of the first to get the shot. The 55-year-old says he found out he was eligible when he was registering his mother-in-law for the vaccine.

“There was a question about whether the escort would like to receive a vaccination,” he said. “So I looked at it and thought it was a good opportunity.”

As Collado sat at a small table, a health care professional drew up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine into a syringe. She cleaned his skin with an alcohol wipe then asked, “OK sir, you ready?”

After getting the immunization, Collado was given a Band-Aid and told to sit in an waiting area for 15 minutes where he was monitored for any adverse effects.

It’s a process repeated with every patient.

HNN caught up with Raymond Yeh on his way out. “It went well,” the 78-year-old said. “Very smooth.”

Dr. Melinda Ashton, chief quality control officer at Hawaii Pacific Health, estimated the average appointment was taking between 30 and 45 minutes.

She added efforts would ramp up Tuesday. Some 1,500 people have registered for an appointment.

Ashton said from the moment someone steps out of their car, masks are required. There’s also a special focus on social distancing and hand hygiene.

Those who don’t have an appointment won’t be allowed in.

“Even before we were set up people were arriving at the gate saying can I come in and get a shot,” said Ashton. “But they’re being turned away.

She says a total of 12,800 vaccinations will be administered at Pier 2 between now and Jan. 27.

Ashton added they won’t be able to make any new appointments until more doses of the vaccine arrive. However, people are still encouraged to sign up on the Hawaii Pacific Health website.

“They can let us know that they would like to make an appointment,” she said. “And as soon as we have more vaccine and we can schedule more appointments we’ll take those in.”

On his way out, Collado told HNN he felt fortunate to have gotten the shot.

“It was pretty painless,” he said. “I would encourage people to take the vaccine. Especially for older people like myself who are high risk.”

Ashton said this Pier 2 vaccination site is expected to be up and running through the end of March.

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