HONOLULU (AP) — Thousands of Oahu residents are expected to have access to COVID-19 vaccines when the state opens mass vaccination centers there, officials said.
The state plans to begin providing vaccinations beginning Monday at Honolulu’s Pier 2 in partnership with Hawaii Pacific Health, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Hawaii Pacific Health is the parent of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Straub Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Wilcox Medical Center on Kauai.
Ray Vara, the CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health, told a news conference Wednesday his organization aims to start off by vaccinating 1,000 people per day and then ramp up to 3,000 to 4,000 daily.
The Queen’s Medical Center announced plans to operate a second large-scale vaccination clinic in the final week of January at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. Queen’s Health Systems CEO Dr. Jill Hoggard Green said they aim to vaccinate a similar number.
Health officials hope to administer up to 100,000 vaccine shots this month and up to 150,000 doses monthly in February, March, April and May, Democratic Lt. Gov. Josh Green said.
Currently, vaccinations are being offered to people over the age of 75 and front-line essential workers like corrections officers, teachers and postal workers. Vara said people may schedule an appointment online and that 1,000 people have already signed up.
There were 26,000 vaccine doses administered in Hawaii in December. As of Monday, nearly 39,000 residents had been vaccinated and 109,250 doses were delivered by drug makers Pfizer and Moderna. The Hawaii Department of Health said tens of thousands of additional vaccine doses are expected to ship this week.
Queen’s Medical Center President Jason Chang said online registration for the planned centers should make the process fast and efficient.
“Ideally, you’d like to get through more people, but we want to be safe and cautious to start,” Chang said.
The health department reported 106 new coronavirus cases as of 11:59 p.m. Monday, bringing Hawaii’s total since the start of the pandemic to 23,733 cases.
Last Thursday, the state set a record for the new year with 322 newly confirmed cases. The figure was the highest since August, when infections spiked to 355.
The new surge is attributed primarily to holiday gatherings, Green said.
“This is still the remnant of the surge from New Year’s,” Green said. “Almost all have been from those social gatherings.”
Cases appear to be decreasing, Green said.
“I do believe it’s beginning to come down,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going back to Tier 1 as long as we keep a lid on social gatherings.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.