The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan for Hawai`i | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly
En español | Who can get vaccinated now?
- All state residents age 60 and older (16 and older in Kaua`i County)
- People 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions, with a priority on patients who are receiving dialysis or oxygen treatment, undergoing chemotherapy or infusion therapy, receiving immunosuppressant medication for a recent transplant or on a transplant waiting list)
- Residents and staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and community care homes for kūpuna
- Health care personnel and other frontline essential workers, among them teachers; first responders and emergency services dispatchers; grocery store workers; and hotel, bar and restaurant staff
Where can I get a vaccine?
- Hospitals and health centers: The state’s vaccine registration page has links for eligible residents to sign up for appointments through local health departments and health care systems. Online registration is open to people age 60-plus; those 16 and over with the medical conditions specified above; and essential staff at hotels, restaurants and bars. Kūpuna in Honolulu County can also call 211 to register.
- Mass-vaccination sites: Large-scale clinics are operating at the Pier 2 cruise terminal in Honolulu (schedule an appointment through Hawai`i Pacific Health), the Neil Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu (schedule with the Queen’s Health Systems) and Kapolei Consolidated Theatres (schedule with Kaiser Permanente Hawai`i).
- Pharmacies: Select Longs Drugs, KTA Super Store and Safeway pharmacies are offering shots to eligible residents. Follow the links for information on scheduling vaccination appointments.
- Essential workers in most fields should be registered for vaccination through their employers, according to state Department of Health.
- Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. Those enrolled in the VA health care system get priority; additional appointments will go to others who are eligible based on their age, health problems and other factors that increase their COVID-19 risk. Sign up with VA to get updates on vaccine availability and to be notified when you can make an appointment.
- Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others.
For more information, check the vaccine web pages for Hawai`i, Honolulu, Kaua`i and Maui counties and the state Department of Health’s vaccine FAQ for kūpuna. If you don’t have internet access or have vaccine questions, call the health department at (808) 586-8332. You can also get help by phone on Hawai`i Island, 808-300-1120; Kaua`i, 808-241-4470; Maui, 808-270-7774; and Oahu, Queen’s Health System, 808-691-2222.
AARP recommends that you talk to your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.
If you are eligible because of an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible based on your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.
Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?
Some essential workers included in Phase 1c of the state’s vaccine timeline, which is underway, have not yet been declared eligible, including those in construction, transportation and information technology. They are slated to come next.
The remainder of Hawai`i residents age 16 and older are in Phase 2, which is scheduled to begin in May.
Follow updates about availability for various groups on the state’s vaccine overview page. You can call 211 or 808-586-8332 with vaccine questions.
AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death.
How are residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities getting vaccinated?
Most residents and staff of large nursing homes and assisted living facilities n Hawai`i are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines at free on-site clinics.
Nationally, almost all nursing homes, which were given first priority, have completed their vaccination clinics. Most assisted living and other long-term care facilities are conducting their final clinics. All the vaccination clinics are slated to wrap up by late March.
For kūpuna living in Hawai`i’s hundreds of small community care homes, the state is partnering with local pharmacies to provide shots on site or at drive-through clinics.
I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot.
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable.
You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot.
Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older, while the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. Visit the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccines page for more information.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).
Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?
Yes. Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-world conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose.
The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC says it could take months for the population to build up immunity and continues to recommend preventive measures such as wearing face masks, washing hands often and practicing social distancing.
In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil although they would still provide some protection.
AARP Hawai`i wants to hear from you
Please take a few minutes to complete our vaccine questionnaire and help guide our efforts to improve the rollout in Hawai`i.
This guide, published Jan. 21, was updated March 30 with additional information on vaccine eligibility and mass-vaccination sites.
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