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Clinics take on vaccination effort as mass PODs end

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald A volunteer fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination event on April 3 hosted by HMC at Edith Kanakaole Multi-Purpose Stadium.

As demand wanes for COVID-19 vaccines, mass vaccination efforts on the Big Island are winding down.

Hilo Medical Center hosted its last scheduled mass vaccination clinic May 15.

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Interest in vaccinations is declining, but Hospital Administrator Kris Wilson said another factor is the upcoming Merrie Monarch Festival, which will occupy the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium where the PODs, or points of dispensing, have been held.

“Will there be more in the future? We’re not sure,” she said.

That answer depends on whether vaccine booster shots will be needed and what the future of the vaccine program holds.

“We’re not opposed to hosting more mass vaccination clinics in the future, if we need to,” Wilson said.

At this point, however, HMC administrators feel “really comfortable” handing off the vaccine efforts to its health care, community and pharmacy partners.

HMC’s regular vaccine clinic at the Arc of Hilo will continue to run throughout the summer.

Many required second doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been scheduled at the Arc of Hilo clinic.

Wilson, however, said she’s not sure what the future of that clinic will be after the summer.

Kona Community Hospital also is curtailing its vaccine clinics, according to spokeswoman Judy Donovan.

Its last mass vaccination clinic at the Kona Aquatic Center was held Thursday, and an additional clinic at KCH was held Friday.

One more clinic is planned at KCH for May 28, and a final clinic will be held June 17 for second doses only.

“We currently do not have plans to operate additional clinics at KCH,” Donovan said. “Our pharmacy is coordinating the transfer of any remaining Pfizer vaccines to a number of community vaccine providers.”

Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea will continue to offer the Pfizer vaccine at its on-campus clinic as well as various mobile events, hospital spokeswoman Lynn Scully said.

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And starting this week, Scully said the hospital plans to expand its offering of walk-in vaccinations, with no appointments necessary, every weekday from 4-6 p.m.

The clinic will be closed Monday, May 31, which is Memorial Day.

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