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UPDATE: J&J Vaccine WILL NOT BE Available on Molokai This Week

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

4/13/21 UPDATE: J&J VACCINES NOT BEING OFFERED THIS WEEK. Statement from the Molokai Community Health Center: Out of an abundance of care and safety, MCHC is following the CDC & U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendation to pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, until further notice. This update is based on the recent events of six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clots that have occurred. Out of 6.8 million Americans who have received the J&J vaccine, these six cases represent .00009 percent of all Americans who have received the J&J.  This move shows the Federal oversight process of vaccine safety and effectiveness is working and steps are being taken to investigate and protect patients.

Editor’s note: below is the story as it is printed in this week’s paper, that had accurate info as of press date of 4/11/21.

Vaccination efforts continue on Molokai, with Molokai General Hospital offering a walk-in clinic last Friday in which they administered 140 doses in five hours, and at the Molokai Community Health Center, which will be offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the first time on Molokai starting this week.

The one-dose J&J shot will be available at MCHC as early as Thursday this week, said MCHC CEO Helen Kekalia Wescoatt, adding it will be available weekly on Thursdays and Fridays for all residents aged 18 and over. Interested community members may check the Health Center Facebook page and website for updates. MCHC is also hosting another two-day public vaccine clinic for Molokai residents Thursday and Friday, April 22-23 from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. on both days. An appointment is recommended by calling 553-5038, op-tion1.

With the low numbers of last week’s clinic at the hospital, Janice Kalanihuia, president of MGH, said they’re “going to try one more time.”

“I think it’s an uphill battle from here,” she said of offering vaccines to those remaining residents who may want them but haven’t yet received them.

New Maui County Emergency Rules proposed by Mayor Michael Victorino were approved by Gov. Ige last week. A rapid test will be required upon arrival at the Kahului Airport for trans-Pacific travelers coming directly into Maui. This will be in addition to the pre-testing program required for entering the state without undergoing a 10-day quarantine period. Victorino said at a press conference last Wednesday that those who refuse the rapid test upon arrival will be subject to the mandatory 10-day quarantine, regardless of whether they tested negative before departure. This program won’t start immediately, as the county is currently in the process securing a company to administer the airport testing. Victorino said the county will give “ample notice” be-fore the program is set to begin.

With rising numbers of visitor arriving on Maui as well as increasing cases of COVID-19 on Maui, the Mayor said the secondary testing is an added precaution as well as serving another purpose.

“This secondary test has been designed to determine if visitors and returning residents are contributing to the large rate of COVID-19 here on Maui,” said Victorino last Wednesday.

Maui County Deputy Managing Director Josiah Nishita said during the press conference that although the CDC has issued new guidance saying fully vaccinated travelers don’t need to test prior to travel or quarantine upon arrival, if states approve that policy, Hawaii is not ready to adopt a “vaccine passport” program. Nishita said the state is working to develop a pilot program but it won’t happen “for some time.”

“We don’t anticipate any immediate changes for interisland travel [based on vaccination status],” said Nishita.

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