Maui Coronavirus Updates

Vaccine Distribution Delay Prompts Temporary Suspension of New Appointments for First Doses at Maui Hospital

By Wendy Osher
January 16, 2021, 2:42 PM HST
* Updated January 16, 5:16 PM
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Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. PC: Maui Health

Demand for vaccinations on Maui continues to outpace supply, forcing a temporary suspension in securing new appointments for first doses at the Maui hospital.

Maui Health, which runs the vaccination clinic at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, has also postponed appointments for individuals that were seeking a first dose and had already secured an appointment between Jan. 17 and Feb. 7, 2021.

“Unfortunately, last evening we were informed by the state that we will not be receiving the expected shipment for this weekend and next week. Because of this, we have made the difficult decision to postpone all first dose appointments scheduled between Sunday, Jan. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 7.”

Tracy Dallarda, Communications Director for Maui Health / Maui Memorial Medical Center

“This is to ensure that we have enough vaccine to provide the second dose to those who will require them over the next few weeks,” said Tracy Dallarda, Communications Director for Maui Health / Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Affected individuals impacted by this first dose postponement have been notified through the email they used to register for their appointment. They have since been placed on a priority list to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine as soon as Maui Health is able to secure and maintain sufficient vaccine supply from the state.

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“As soon as we receive confirmation that enough vaccines are on their way to Maui Health, we will send these individuals a link to a private booking portal (NOT the CDC’s VAMS site) to reschedule an appointment,” said Dallarda.

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Maui Health has also established new clinic hours for those already scheduled to receive their second dose. These individuals should have received an email with more specific instructions.

Changes include:

  • The Maui Health clinic at the Maui Memorial Medical Center will be closed Sunday, Jan. 17 and Monday, Jan. 25
  • Beginning Monday, Jan. 18, the vaccine Maui Health clinic will operate for already scheduled Pfizer SECOND DOSE vaccinations ONLY.
  • New clinic hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday ONLY.

Additionally, Maui Health is not accepting any new appointment requests at this time.

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If a Maui resident has already submitted an appointment request form and is still having issues, they are asked to email [email protected] with
their concerns.

“Although we aren’t scheduling new appointments, we can assist with account set-up for when new appointments become available,” said Dallarda. “We know this is frustrating. Please know that we are tirelessly advocating for Maui to ensure we receive our fair share of vaccines so that any Maui community member who wants to be vaccinated, can be.”

The hospital vaccination clinic at the Maui Memorial Medical Center includes a special help desk appointment system that allows kupuna to schedule time when volunteers can assist with the online registration process. There’s also a dedicated phone number and email address to answer questions and help them navigate through the appointment process.

The Maui Health Community Vaccination Clinic began on Friday, Jan. 8 and since that time, has vaccinated more than 3,000 community members and an additional 1,000+ employees and providers.

The hospital has been receiving 1,500 requests per day from individuals wanting to get a vaccine; for a total of 11,000 people (as of Thursday, Jan. 14) who had entered the system and were awaiting appointments.

The hospital is the only site on Maui that has extended vaccinations to those in the 1B priority grouping under the CDC’s prioritization timeline.

Maui’s other clinic is a drive-in site, operated by the state Department of Health–Maui District Health office at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. The Point of Distribution site or POD at the college is considered a “closed POD” that is not open to the general public or many in the broader 1B grouping. It is still working to fulfill vaccination requests in the higher 1A priority grouping as well as first responders.

The UHMC site had difficulties this past week, when an unexpected crowd showed up on both Monday and Wednesday, including those outside of the site’s priority grouping.  Some were turned away and asked to await further instruction.

Those getting vaccinated should note that the hospital vaccination clinic is currently offering only the Pfizer vaccine; while the pop-up clinic at UHMC is currently administering the Moderna vaccine. 

“Your first dose, if it’s with Moderna, your second dose needs to be with the same manufacturer, Moderna. If you come here (to the hospital), and your first dose is Pfizer, your second dose also has to be Pfizer,” said Chrissy Miller and Employee Health Nurse Manager with Maui Health.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green has estimated the demand for the vaccine to be “about 3 to 1, or maybe even 5 to 1,” currently. “And that will tip in a better direction for us quickly as we get our vaccine surge , which has been promised to us in the third week of January, where we are headed right now.” 

“I think your tipping point is going to be around, if I had to guess, March 1st when all of a sudden it seems to have reached equilibrium where right about the right number of people are asking based on the right number of vaccines. It’s not really that far away,” said Lt. Gov. Green during a visit to Maui on Thursday.

Updates will be provided as they become available.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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