First Lady Jill Biden Visits Vaccine Clinic at Waipahu High School During Hawai‘i Stop
* Updated July 26, 5:48 PM
First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden visited a mobile vaccination clinic at Waipahu High School over the weekend during a stop in Hawaiʻi on her return from the Japan Olympics, where she led the US Delegation during the opening ceremony.
The First Lady visited the Hawaiʻi Pacific Health mobile vaccination clinic as part of her efforts nationwide to encourage people to get vaccinated.
HPH COVID-19 Vax Squad Goes Mobile
HPH launched its mobile vaccination efforts in May by bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to O‘ahu high schools around the island in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Departments of Education and Health. The COVID-19 Vax Squad held its first on-location clinic on at Waipahu High School on May 6 and administered 418 doses. During the second on-location clinic on Sunday, July 25, a total of 105 doses were administered.
Since then, the effort has expanded beyond school locations to include shopping centers, churches, banks, community housing, and other locations in communities around the island, including the Honolulu Zoo and Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. To date, the HPH COVID-19 Vax Squad has administered more than 10,700 doses.
The mobile vaccination clinic features a tour bus that has been retrofitted to accommodate vaccination stations, and is stocked with the necessary supplies and equipment to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in a safe environment. The HPH COVID-19 Vax Squad consists of medical and clinical staff trained to provide the vaccinations, including medical assistants, nurses, pharmacists, doctors, and technical support.
Waipahu High School Graduates Provide Support at Mobile Vaccine Clinic
As an educator herself, the First Lady had particular interest in this vaccination clinic because of the unique partnership between the Hawai‘i Department of Education and HPH through the HPH Medical Assistant Program. Waipahu High School graduates of HPH’s Medical Assistant Program provided support during Sunday’s vaccination clinic, including administering the vaccine, and had the opportunity to meet the First Lady.
Since May, the mobile vaccination clinic experience has been providing students with a real-world scenario to use the skills they have learned during the program. In addition, alumni of the training program now working as medical assistants with HPH have been among those who have been assisting with vaccinations both at HPH’s Pier 2 Vaccination Center and as part of the HPH COVID-19 Vax Squad.
The HPH Medical Assistant Program, which is offered with no tuition costs, includes two semesters of coursework and 225 hours of clinical externships. Classes include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, administrative medical assisting and clinical medical assisting, among other courses. Waipahu High School was one of HPH’s inaugural partners for this program, which launched in 2018. Today, HPH’s Medical Assistant Program is available at 13 high schools, many of which have been a stop for the HPH COVID-19 Vax Squad bus since it launched in May.
Since the program’s inception, two cohorts have completed the program with a 100% pass rate for national certification. The third cohort is in progress and will sit for their national certification exam during the first week of August. The fourth cohort will begin on August 3. Of those who have completed the program, 36 currently work for HPH.
Medical assistants play a critical role on the patient care team, working closely with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals in the clinic and hospital setting. They perform administrative and clinical duties that can include greeting patients, scheduling appointments, updating and filing patient medical records, preparing patients for exams, and explaining treatment procedures and physician’s instructions to patients.