‘I think we’re filling the gaps’: KTA has given around 5,000 vaccines around isle

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald file photo KTA pharmacist Casey Tamayo rolls a cart with COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 4 at Hawaii Island Adult Care.

KTA Super Stores is now administering 350 to 400 COVID-19 vaccines per week across its four Big Island pharmacies.

The grocery chain began offering vaccines in-store last month.


“As you can imagine, our waiting list has grown now since we opened it up,” said Kerri Okamura, director of pharmacy operations for KTA. “We’re just trying to get people scheduled, and we are doing a couple of off-site clinics just to help increase our capacity.”

In addition to its pharmacies in Puainako, Waimea, Keauhou and Waikoloa, Okamura said KTA hosts off-site clinics most Saturdays, by appointment only, at Big Island Docs in Hilo and Hamana Place in Kailua-Kona.

She hopes to eventually administer 300 to 400 vaccines at the Big Island Docs clinic, “but we’re not there yet.”

Okamura said KTA has administered about 5,000 vaccine doses since January through its clinics as well as in adult residential care facilities.

KTA has been offering the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses.

Okamura said she has requested the single-dose Johnson &Johnson vaccine, but doesn’t know if or when KTA might receive it.

“I think we’re happy that we can help get our community vaccinated, and we’re also happy to be able to provide another option for our community members who might not have access to computers for the complicated registration system,” she said. “I think we’re filling the gaps, in a sense. Even if we don’t have this huge capacity, I think the people that we’re serving, it’s an easier route for them to get vaccinated, and I hope we can increase capacity so that we can serve more of them.”

Those interested in receiving a vaccine either in-store or at one of the off-site clinics can sign up for a waiting list at ktasuperstores.com/pharmacy and select a location, or by calling the pharmacy and pressing 6 to leave a message.

The message should clearly state the caller’s name, phone number, date of birth, age and if they’re an essential worker.

Those on the list will be contacted to schedule and appointment as slots are available.


Okamura said KTA has been focusing on kupuna 75 and older and some essential workers, including its grocery store employees, but will expand to those 70-plus this week.

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

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