Big Island Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine Shipment Arrive at Queen’s Medical Center

December 14, 2020, 4:32 PM HST
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COVID-19 vaccines arrive at Queen’s Medical Center. (PC: Queen’s Medical Center Facebook)

The COVID-19 vaccine won’t arrive at Big Island hospitals until next week, officials confirmed this afternoon.

On Monday, a shipment of 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived at Queen’s Medical Center. Lt. Gov. Josh Green posted a video of health care workers received the medicine and properly storing it for use in the coming days.

Delivery of the remaining 3,900 doses of Hawaiʻi’s prepositioning order is expected Wednesday, Dec. 16. Health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the vaccine.

“Today is a big day,” Green stated on his Facebook post. “It’s a day of hope and relief for many people. More work to be done but we should also celebrate this incredible feat.”

Vaccinations are expected to begin Tuesday for health care workers at Queen’s.

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Hilo Medical Center and Kona Community Hospital are expected to receive the vaccine next week. Elena Cabatu, spokeswoman for HMC, said the facility is still on track to receive a shipment of 925 doses of the vaccine.

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KCH spokeswoman Judy Donovan told Big Island Now on Monday she didn’t know how many doses they would be provided.

Almost 45,000 additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to arrive in Hawaiʻi this month. Pending approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, as many as 36,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are expected by the end of the year.

“It is gratifying to be able to offer the vaccine to health care workers who have sacrificed so much to protect all of us,” said Gov. David Ige. “The vaccine provides another important layer of protection to safeguard our kūpuna and others in long-term care facilities.”

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The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved after a rigorous review by the FDA. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup conducted a thorough and independent review of the federal process and unanimously concluded the vaccine is safe and effective.

“The vaccine is a major tool in combating COVID-19, and it is critical we continue to use all the tools at our disposal,” said Department of Health Director Libby Char. “We still do not know whether a person who has been vaccinated can carry the virus and infect others. We do not know how long the vaccine will confer immunity. Until these questions are answered, we must continue to protect ourselves and the people we love by wearing face masks and physical distancing.”

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