Walk-ins now welcome at a number of COVID vaccination sites in Hawaii

Hawaii health officials combat drop in demand for vaccines with walk-in sites

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More COVID-19 vaccine clinics are opening up to walk-in opportunities in a bid to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Starting Monday, the mass vaccination sites run by Hawaii Pacific Health at Pier 2 is open to walk-in vaccinations two hours a day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Officials said more than 10,000 appointments were available at Pier 2 for the week.

They’re also expanding their evenings, so you can come after work on some days if you have an appointment.

Other clinics around the state have opportunities as well. On Kauai, the Department of Health’s Convention Hall clinic is accepting walk-ins without appointments for those 60 and up as well as residents with limited English proficiency between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Officials with Hawaii County said most pods and clinics are accepting walk-ins regularly, but appointments are preferred.

Maui Memorial Medical Health is offering walk-ins on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon.

They hope more folks will want to receive the shot, since getting it is easier than ever before.

“We want to make sure that we’re reaching all individuals,” said Chrissy Miller, Maui Health’s Vaccine Rollout Coordinator. “We would want to make it easier now that it’s available to the population 16 and older.”

Community health clinics on Oahu are also beginning to do more walk-ins — again, every clinic is different.

Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center said it was a bit disappointed with the turn-out of their mass vaccination event on Saturday, and that it’s taking a break from its weekend clinic this week and is beginning to take walk-ins.

“Right now we’re just trying to re-strategize every day to make the shot is available to remove as many barriers as we can to make it easy for people to get the shot that want it,” said Jacob Schafer, WCCHC’s director of infection control.

According to state health officials, clinics are able to open up to walk-in opportunities since demand for the vaccine is down, especially for neighbor islands who opened up availability to all eligible residents earlier than Oahu.

Even though clinics are reporting that it’s taking longer to fill up those appointments, officials with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii said the state is still using the doses they’re getting.

There are some places on the mainland that have already begun turning away vaccines so they can concentrate on distributing what they still have, but Hawaii has not done that yet. We’re still accepting every dose and health officials said doses aren’t sitting idle yet.

They said the two groups that seem to be most hesitant about getting the vaccine are younger folks and those with limited English proficiency.

“Over half the state now has at least one vaccine in their arm,” said WCCHC Director of Infection Control Jacob Schafer. “But by and large, this has been older adults. It’s younger adults, millennials, that seem to be getting COVID now, and I think maybe they have a perception that the COVID isn’t as serious of a disease for them.”

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said this is raising major concerns.

“They’re doing a lot of things and mixing with their friends and socializing, and that’s the group we’re concerned about,” Raethel said.

“Now, there’s another group of individuals, and that may be those who do not have English as their primary language. And so for many of those individuals, it could be just a matter of not having access to sufficient information, or information in their native tongue that really resonates with them.”

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