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Statistics show Kapolei with a low COVID vaccination rate and no one’s sure why

Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 9:52 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:09 AM HST
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KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - New maps from the state Department of Health show Kapolei with one of the lowest COVID vaccination rates on Oahu.

The maps break down vaccination rates by zip codes.

According to the DOH, 35% or less of Kapolei residents have been fully vaccinated. The Wahiawa area also had a low rate of vaccinations.

[Read more: You can now track Hawaii’s vaccination progress by zip code]

Hauula, the Kuilouou area and much of the area from Aiea to Downtown Honolulu had the highest rates ― with more than 70%.

No one seems to be sure why Kapolei’s rate is low.

“A lot of it is fundamentals. You’d think it would be reasonably high,” said HNN political analyst Colin Moore. “It’s a fairly wealthy, well-educated area where people should have good connections and the ability to get the vaccine.”

One possible reason for the low rate: Availability.

Longtime Kapolei resident and neighborhood board member Kioni Dudley said he struggled to find somewhere close by to get COVID shots for himself and his wife.

“I started looking for places. And there were places in Aiea, there were places in Ewa Beach and there were places in Waianae. But there were no places whatsoever here,” said Dudley.

He and his wife got their shots in Waianae.

Other residents believe it may be political.

“This is a very conservative neighborhood. I never thought I would say that,” said Carolyn Golojuch, a social worker who has lived in the Kapolei-Makakilo area for four decades. She believes attitudes against the vaccine ― some politically-motivated ― may also be to blame.

“This is really wonderful protection for you,” Golojuch said, of the vaccines. “Don’t be misguided. Don’t listen to the other naysayers of the past adminsitration.”

However, Moore discounts any possible political ties for the low rate.

“It’s not because it’s a slightly more conservative area, because there are lots of conservative areas on Oahu that have much higher vaccination rates, so ti’s something else unusual that’s happening,” he said.

DOH officials also took notice, with a spokesman raising the possibility of more military residents in the area. They would have received their vaccinations from federal sources, which weren’t counted on the maps. Even so, health officials said the information will help them target vaccinations more closely.

“It’s just a point in time snapshot, and we expect that with this information we’re going to see a lot of improvement in these areas,” said Joshua Quint, an epidemiologist with the Health Department.

“But it’s all about getting this information back out to the community so that we can realign resources in that way.”

Those efforts are already being stepped up. The Queen’s Health Systems said it would hold a vaccination clinic Saturday at the Kapolei Inline Skating facility.

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