Senior center in Kalihi hopes to reopen soon thanks to vaccines, protocols

Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 10:33 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center in Kalihi has been a hub of kupuna activity and classes for decades.

But since March 2020, it’s been closed to the public.

Executive Director Susie Chun Oakland says the center will ‘reopen very soon’ thanks to new protocols and a weekly vaccination clinic that’s happened every Tuesday since February.

Gayle Nakama, 69, is getting her second Moderna shot. “Great. I want to get it over with,” said Nakama.

She says she’s high risk because of a weakened immune system so she’s looking forward to seeing friends and taking off her face covering.

“Not wearing the mask. I was so happy because CDC announced it today. I’m really looking forward to that,” said Nakama.

Kalihi-Palama Health Center is providing the shots and recruited retired doctors for the effort. There’s glucose, blood pressure and weight checks as well.

“Every single site that I have participated in that were providing COVID vaccinations, there have been patients who have not been identified as having high blood pressure or diabetes and we’ve been able to offer our services,” said Dr. Glenn Delcarmen, who retired from family practice.

“They really have been very thankful. Previously they thought I couldn’t get care because I couldn’t afford it or I lost my insurance because of COVID,” he added.

While there are limited in-person computer classes, most of the activities at the center are on zoom.

“Everyone misses being here. They miss their friends,” said Oakland.

She says the last vaccination clinic will be in May and so far, 400 people have received shots.

“We are really happy to be helping in some way,” said Oakland.

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