As vaccine demand slows, Hawaii pharmacies seek to convince the hesitant to get a jab

Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 5:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the demand for vaccines continues to drop, healthcare workers are trying to convince skeptics that the Johnson & Johnson shot is worth taking.

Pharmacists say the temporary pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine didn’t help with vaccine hesitancy. Times pharmacies say they’ve had hundreds of appointment slots go unfilled.

Along with offering appointments at its stores, Times Pharmacy has been delivering shots at Mililani Town Association Recreation Center every Thursday.

But last week, only 100 of 500 slots were filled.

“There was a significant decrease in the amount of interest that we’ve seen from the public in the amount of appointments that we reserve for our site,” said Melissa Machida, Times Pharmacy clinical pharmacy manager.

“We have a lot of vaccine that is available and we want to give it out to them. We want to make sure that they come to us or we can come to them,” she added.

Last week was the first Times Mililani vaccination clinic since the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was lifted. The pause was to allow researchers to investigate rare instances of blood clots.

The vaccine hesitant say they’re still thinking about whether the J&J shot is right for them.

Nemesia Gomera, 66, wears a mask and shield to protect against the coronavirus, but she’s still on the fence about getting vaccinated.

“I am scared because the others get blood clots,” she said.

Mary Kane has her appointment in two weeks after initial reluctance and her two friends have already gotten their shots.

“My grandchildren just said, ‘Go get it grandma,’” she said.

State Department of Health spokesman Brooks Baehr said the state has been seeing a slowdown in vaccination appointments across the board over the past few weeks.

Times Pharmacy says it’s doing outreach and even doing home visits along with other pharmacies.

This Thursday, it’s accepting appointments and walk-ins at the Mililani Town Association’s Recreation Center 8 a.m. to noon.

“It’s important to protect yourself. It’s important to protect those around you. If you have any questions or concerns the CDC website, it a very good resource,” said Machida.

To make an appointment, click here or call 808-832-8265.

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