Health care company partners with nonprofit to vaccinate Native Hawaiian communities

Nonprofit, health insurer partner to increase vaccine access to Native Hawaiian communities

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Across the state, efforts are underway to get as many people vaccinated as possible, but there are many kupuna who do not have easy access to receive their shot.

Roughly 60% of adults over 75 have gotten at least one dose of protection, but access to vaccination sites are especially sparse on the west side of Oahu.

In order to bridge this gap, Kaiser Permanente partnered with the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement to bring doses to Kapolei, focusing on vaccinating kupuna and more susceptible communities such as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who have been seriously impacted by COVID-19.

Kuhio Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement said, “It’s a beautiful partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement where Kaiser has offered to come out to our community to vaccinate our kupuna and those essential workers. It’s great because so many times we see our kupuna having a hard time navigating the system in place, so this allows us to go to them to really make sure they’re getting the vaccination that’s needed to protect them.”

For Kupuna like Seiji Tokuda, a 90-year-old who received his first dose on Wednesday, clinics and events like these make getting the vaccine more convenient and easy for those who live outside of downtown Honolulu.

“I came for my shot,” said Tokuda.

His son said that even at his age, Tokuda still works and that getting the vaccine gets him one step closer to being protected from coronavirus.

Mehana Hind, Vice President Community Programs at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement said that events like these that focus on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander populations show how these communities are feeling about the vaccine.

“Ohana have been having conversations amongst themselves about not only returning to some sense of normalcy. We see now more and more people in our communities coming around to say hey, how can we get vaccinated,” said Hind.

The Council for the Native Hawaiian Advancement hopes to partner with Kaiser to put one of these clinics on at the end of every month.

For more information or to make an appointment, click here.

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