KTA aims to vaccinate 1,000 on Friday

  • OKAMURA

KTA Super Stores will offer its own large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday at Edith Kanakaole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo.

The grocery chain aims to administer 1,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine.

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KTA began offering vaccines in its four Big Island pharmacies in February.

Kerri Okamura, director of pharmacy operations for KTA, said that once eligibility opened up to Phases 1A, 1B and 1C of the state’s vaccination priority plan, the store’s wait list grew, “and we wanted to try and take care of as many people on that wait list as possible. The only way to get it done was to do this bigger clinic.”

A clinic specifically for second doses will be conducted four weeks later.

KTA will host a second first-dose clinic on April 9, also at the stadium.

Although KTA is planning to offer another 1,000 doses April 9, Okamura said the clinic might expand that number if possible.

“We’ll see how it goes this week,” she said.

To schedule an appointment for Friday, visit ktasuperstores.com/pharmacy and click on the link for vaccination appointments at KTA’s Puainako location.

Across the chain, KTA now is providing about 900 vaccines per week, including those administered at off-site clinics hosted most Saturdays, by appointment only, at Big Island Docs in Hilo and Hamana Place in Kailua-Kona.

KTA has administered about 9,000 doses since January through its clinics, as well as in adult residential care facilities.

“I think that the demand is still high,” Okamura said. “We’re happy we’re able to help our community get vaccinated. It’s been quite rewarding to see people’s reaction when they get their vaccines. They’re so happy, and I think we’re happy to be part of getting our community back to normal, or some kind of normal.”

KTA is following DOH guidance about vaccine eligibility.

The state’s vaccination plan prioritizes distribution of vaccines in two phases.

The first phase has three components, with an emphasis on high-risk populations.

Phase 1A includes health care personnel and long-term care facility residents, while Phase 1B includes front-line essential workers, such as teachers, and adults 75 and older.

Adults 65-74, people 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions and essential workers not included in 1B can be vaccinated in Phase 1C.

According to the DOH, essential workers in Phase 1C are people in industries and occupations important to the functioning of society and at increased risk of exposure. This includes people who work in hotels and hospitality, food service, banking and finance, transportation, construction, news media, logistics, information technology and others.

The DOH also has sub-prioritized those in Phase 1C who are on dialysis, have severe respiratory disease who are on oxygen and those undergoing chemotherapy or other infusion therapy.

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Phase 2 will cover the rest of the population, which includes everyone 16 and older not included in previous categories.

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