By Honey Maltin-Wisot
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and Kaiser Permanente teamed up to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 100 kūpuna and essential workers today on Oʻahu’s west side. In total, 108 Pfizer vaccine doses were administered between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Kapōlei Heritage Center.
“As we’ve seen from state health department data, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have been hit harder than any other ethnic group by this devastating virus,” said Kūhio Lewis, CNHA President and CEO. “We account for about a quarter of positive COVID-19 cases. There are also many Native Hawaiians with pre-existing health conditions, like diabetes. Our kūpuna are among our most vulnerable, so we need to mālama them to ensure that they have access to the vaccine.”
Today’s event is the first of what could be several similar collaborations to provide easier access to the vaccine—especially to the Native Hawaiian population. Kaiser Permanente distributed flyers in the Hawaiian Homestead communities last week to encourage kūpuna and essential workers to register. Only people who pre-registered for an appointment and provided proper identification received the vaccine. The event was open to anyone meeting current vaccine distribution requirements—regardless of their insurance carrier.
Currently, Hawaiʻi is in Phase 1B of its vaccine distribution plan. Kūpuna 75 and older, as well as essential workers, are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Another clinic will be held next month to administer second doses of the vaccine. Depending on availability, additional first doses could also be administered at that time.
“COVID-19 has affected our community in so many different ways. It is going to take some time to recover—but being able to provide people access