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More J&J clinics offered; HMC holds second large-scale POD at stadium

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Angie Powels gets the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine from Anna Novello at Hilo Medical Center's new hub at The Arc in Hilo on Thursday.

Big Island kupuna and some essential workers will have additional opportunities to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson &Johnson this month.

The state Department of Health announced Wednesday that the single-dose inoculation will be offered Tuesday, March 16, at Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo, but confirmed Thursday that the vaccinations also will be offered at additional clinics which will be held at the stadium on March 23 and March 30.

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Among those who can now make vaccination appointments — including appointments at the upcoming Johnson &Johnson clinics in Hilo — are individuals 65 and those in Phase 1C of the state’s vaccination who are on dialysis, have severe respiratory disease who are on oxygen, and those undergoing chemotherapy or other infusion therapy.

Eligible individuals can register by calling 300-1120.

Hawaii has so far received just one shipment of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine, which was approved for emergency use Feb. 27 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A shipment of 11,900 doses arrived in the state last week, 5,900 of which were delivered to Oahu, while Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties each were slated to receive 2,000 doses.

The Tuesday clinics in Hilo will use the 2,000 doses sent to the Big Island.

A DOH spokesman said the state is still awaiting additional shipments of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine.

People with other chronic conditions also qualify for vaccinations in Phase 1C, but not immediately, the DOH said.

According to the department, because data shows a correlation between medical conditions and age, people with these chronic illnesses will be eligible for vaccines by age in descending order.

Essential workers not included in earlier phases also are part of Phase 1C and will continue to register through employers.

Meanwhile, all 4,000 slots have been filled for Hilo Medical Center’s second mass vaccination clinic — a closed POD, or point of dispensing — which will be held today at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium.

Nearly 2,000 second vaccine doses made by Pfizer will administered to those who attended HMC’s first mass vaccination clinic on Feb. 20, and another 2,000 doses will be available for additional frontline workers in the Phase 1B category, as well as kupuna over 70.

Hospital spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said those receiving their first doses at today’s POD will be invited to HMC’s next mass vaccination clinic on April 3 to get their second doses.

Another 4,000 doses of vaccine will be administered at that POD.

Cabatu said there will be 36 vaccination stations set up today.

“It’s definitely the largest one we’ve had on the island,” she said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

HMC’s regular vaccine clinic has been moved from the hospital campus to the Arc of Hilo and now administers upwards of 300 doses per day.

Cabatu said the new site is safer for kupuna, has more parking and more space to spread out.

HMC will open registration for the expanded groups on Monday, and once a patient receives an email from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they can schedule a vaccination at any clinic on the island.

Visit hilomedicalcenter.org for more information.

Kona Community Hospital is currently accepting appointments for people 65 and older and others in Phase 1C.

Judy Donovan, marketing and strategic development director, said Thursday that those who pre-registered with the hospital should expect to receive an email no later than Monday to set up an appointment.

Those who did not pre-register should download a form at kch.hhsc.org/covid-19-hospital-preparedness-message/ and submit it via email to KCHCOVIDvaccine@hhsc.org.

North Hawaii Community Hospital also is scheduling vaccines for those 65 and older, and high-risk individuals 16-64, as defined by the DOH.

Vaccinations are by appointment only. To request an appointment, email QNHCHvaccine@queens.org, and include your name, birth date, phone number and employer, if you are an essential worker, or call 881-4668.

Those who previously emailed or called while they were ineligible and are now eligible are asked to email again.

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All three hospitals offer the Pfizer vaccine.

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

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