HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Instead of having to register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online, Oahu kupuna can now call 211 to set up an appointment.
Kupuna, age 65 and above, can call the hotline anytime between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
The new service was created to simplify the vaccination registration process and to help kupuna who have limited access to technology, face language barriers, no transportation or no family to help.
“We identified that as part of the overall strategy and implementation of the vaccine plan would need to address this target group,” said Derrick Ariyoshi, County Executive on Aging.
The team of 20 trained specialists will help kupuna navigate the registration process, secure appointments and help eligible individuals arrange for transportation to a vaccination provider.
“I know it’s been pretty difficult to guarantee anything, but what is nice is we have this relationship with a lot of our partners our community partners that are able to get those allocations,” said Melissa Ah Ho-Mauga, Vice President, Client Services, St. Francis Healthcare System.
Translation services are also available.
Aloha United Way says since the pandemic, its 211 call volume has gone up 600% and the kupuna call center is preparing for even more calls with 20 trained specialists.
“Our 211 call center has gone absolutely remote so we’ve actually quintupled the amount of staff that we have answering calls and helping people,”
Officials said the hotline is capable of handling more than 1,000 calls per day.
The call center was created in collaboration with the Executive Office on Aging, the city’s Honolulu’s Elderly Affairs Division, Aloha United Way and St. Francis Healthcare System.
St. Francis partnered with a number of vaccination providers, including Hawaii Pacific Health, Queen’s Medical Center, CVS Longs Drugs, Walgreens and independent pharmacies.