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Hilo hospital urges calm as kupuna vaccinations begin

Hilo Medical Center today will begin vaccinating older kupuna against COVID-19, but the hospital urges calm during the registration process.

Starting today, people 75 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and people 65 and older, as well as certain essential workers, will be eligible to begin registering for the vaccine Monday.

HMC spokeswoman Elena Cabatu said the hospital’s registration helpline (available by calling 932-3000 and then pressing 8 during normal business hours) has been flooded with questions during the past several days, many by people worried they won’t be able to register for a vaccination.

“A lot of kupuna want to be independent, but they might not have an email address or know how to set one up,” Cabatu said. Without an email address, registration is impossible.

Cabatu urged family members of eligible kupuna to help guide their loved ones through the two-step process, explaining that the registration process, while cumbersome, can be completed in less than five minutes. If necessary, she recommends that family members set up an email address for eligible patients.

Once an email address is set up, registrants should go to www.hilomedicalcenter.org/covid-19-vaccine-sign-up-information/vaccine-appointments-75 and enter their email address, phone number, birth date and full name into the form.

After submitting the form, the registrant will receive an email from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention containing a link to the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System, which will allow that person to set up an appointment. Appointments can be made at locations around the island, not just at Hilo Medical Center.

Cabatu emphasized that registration slots already are booked until early February, so nobody should expect to be able to receive their first vaccine dose as soon as they register. When registrants do arrive for their appointments, they will be required to provide a government-issued photo ID and, if they have one, an insurance card. Cabatu said people can still register for vaccinations even if they do not have insurance.

Cabatu thanked family members and caregivers who are helping their loved ones through the registration process.

“It’s amazing how eager so many people are to get vaccinated,” Cabatu said. “It really feels like the kupuna are leading by example.”

To access HMC’s vaccine registration website, visit https://tinyurl.com/y5hzxwws, or www.hilomedicalcenter.org/covid-19-vaccine-sign-up-information/vaccine-appointments-75.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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