Nearly 2,000 vaccinated at Hilo POD

  • Courtesy Hilo Medical Center Grace Maffit-Nobriga, left, a custodian at Keaukaha Elementary School, was the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Hilo Medical Center’s mass vaccination clinic Saturday. The shot was administered by hospital CEO Dan Brinkman, right, a longtime nurse.

Nearly 2,000 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 Saturday in Hilo.

The mass vaccination POD, or point of dispensing, was organized by Hilo Medical Center and focused largely on essential workers.

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HMC spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said educators, school employees and other frontline essential workers — including postal workers, airline employees and those working at larger retailers like Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, HPM Building Supply and Office Max — received inoculations.

Because it was a closed POD, Cabatu said HMC had to reach out to the businesses.

“We thank the businesses for their quick coordination of getting their lists together of employees who wanted to get the vaccination, (and) employees for hustling and getting (their) registration done so they could schedule appointments.”

Health care and community partners working with HMC on the clinic include the University of Hawaii at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, UH-Hilo and Hawaii Community College schools of nursing, Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi and Kiwanis Club.

The whole point of the clinic, said Cabatu, was to get a “big portion” of people vaccinated. The nearly 2,000 vaccines administered in the single day total nearly two weeks worth of vaccines at HMC’s regular vaccine clinic, she said.

Another POD will be held March 13 at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium to administer the second vaccine doses.

As of Monday, Cabatu said that 90% of those who received the first dose already have registered for the second.

Statewide, 306,432 vaccine doses have been administered as of Monday, up 19,117 from the prior day, according to data provided by the state Department of Health.

A total of 422,390 vaccines have been ordered, and 330,900 have so far been received in Hawaii.

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HMC has administered more than 10,000 doses of the vaccine at its own vaccine clinic since Dec. 23.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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