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VIDEO: Hawaii Pacific Health says vaccine rollout going well, but more doses are needed

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  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / JAN. 13
                                Dr. Melinda Ashton, the chief quality officer of Hawaii Pacific Health, attended a press conference announcing the opening of a mass coronavirus vaccination center at Pier 2 in Kakaako. Ashton joined Spotlight Hawaii today for a livestream and took viewer questions.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / JAN. 13

    Dr. Melinda Ashton, the chief quality officer of Hawaii Pacific Health, attended a press conference announcing the opening of a mass coronavirus vaccination center at Pier 2 in Kakaako. Ashton joined Spotlight Hawaii today for a livestream and took viewer questions.

Hawaii Pacific Health Chief Quality Office Dr. Melinda Ashton said the COVID-19 vaccination center at Pier 2 on Oahu is running smoothly, with patients able to go through the process quickly, and very few reporting any adverse reactions to the shot. The main issue facing the vaccine rollout in Hawaii is simply too few doses coming in from the federal government.

“It’s so hard to wait, I understand that. We are committed to making appointments available as soon as we can be assured that we have vaccine to deliver a dose to those that have the appointment,” she said this morning on Spotlight Hawaii.

The state is receiving roughly 40,000 doses a week, and has given out over 200,000 vaccinations. Those include a mix of first and second doses. The Biden Administration has vowed to ramp up vaccine production, but so far, Dr. Ashton said those efforts have not resulted a substantial increase of doses to Hawaii.

“Right now we’re struggling to make sure we have enough vaccine for all of the second dose appointments we have. We’re gonna be very close, and we’re hoping to get just a little bit more so we can complete those without having to postpone any appointments,” she explained, “But we are postponing some first appointments and we will not be making any new first appointments for anybody that’s interested right now, and it will probably be a couple more weeks at least before we have any available.”

Dr. Ashton, who is also a pediatrician, also took questions on the impact of COVID-19 infections children, and the risks versus benefits of in-person classroom learning at this time. On the subject of double-masking, she said that when a disposable, paper mask, the kind now sold widely in many retail stores, is worn under a cloth mask, the two together can be nearly as effective as a medical grade N-95 mask.

“That combination of two masks is actually really helpful to reduce that chance of spread. But at the same time, it’s wear the mask properly, keep your social distancing, wash your hands, stay out of large groups. So it’s not just the double mask, it’s all of the other pieces as well,” she said.


Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations and to view the rest of this month’s schedule.


Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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