The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan for Hawai`i

Posted on 04/15/21 by Andy Markowitz

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?

  • On O`ahu:

    • Residents age 50 and older

    • People 16 and older who are receiving dialysis or oxygen treatment, undergoing chemotherapy or infusion therapy, receiving immunosuppressant medication for a recent transplant or on a transplant waiting list

    • Residents and staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and community care homes for kūpuna

    • Essential workers listed in phases 1a, 1b and 1c of the state’s vaccine timeline, including health care and public safety personnel; school and childcare workers; hotel, bar and restaurant staff; clergy members; grocery store workers; and essential staff in utilities, banking, construction, transportation and other fields
  • In Hawai`i, Kaua`i and Maui counties:

    • Residents age 16 and older
  • Hawai`i has paused distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of a type of blood clot that has developed in some women after vaccination. The government has called the reaction “extremely rare” but “serious.” If you have an appointment for the J&J vaccine, your provider or state or local health department may honor the appointment with a different vaccine or may reach out to reschedule for a different vaccine. You can also contact your provider or health department for more information.
US-HEALTH-VIRUS-VACCINE

Where can I get a vaccine?   


  • Hospitals and health centers: The state’s vaccine registration page has links for eligible residents to sign up for appointments through local health departments and health care systems. Kūpuna can also call 211 to register or request help getting to a vaccine appointment.

  • Mass-vaccination sites: Large-scale clinics are operating at the Pier 2 cruise terminal in Honolulu (schedule an appointment through Hawai`i Pacific Health), the Neil Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu (schedule with the Queen’s Health Systems) and Kapolei Consolidated Theatres (schedule with Kaiser Permanente Hawai`i).

  • Pharmacies: Select Costco, KTA Super Store, CVS/Longs Drugs, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores are offering shots to eligible residents. Follow the links for information on scheduling vaccination appointments. You’ll need to create an account with your name and email to get a vaccine through Walmart or create a guest account to go through Sam’s Club (club membership is not required).

  • Essential workers in most fields should be registered for vaccination through their employers, according to state Department of Health.

  • Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. Those enrolled in the VA health care system get priority; additional appointments will go to others who are eligible based on their age, health problems and other factors that increase their COVID-19 risk. Sign up with VA to get updates on vaccine availability and to be notified when you can make an appointment.

  • Vaccine supplies remain limited in many areas. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be hard to get, as available time slots may be booked quickly, and you might be put on a waiting list. You can sign up at multiple sites to increase your chances of getting an appointment, but once you have confirmed a slot at one site, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule with any other provider so that those slots stay open for others.

For more information, check the state’s vaccine overview page, call 211 or 808-586-8332, or check the vaccine web pages for Hawai`i, Honolulu, Kaua`i and Maui counties.

AARP recommends that you talk to your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.

If you are prioritized because of an underlying medical condition or based on your work, you may need a note from your doctor, a pay stub or badge, or some other form of proof. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?

Vaccine access expands April 19 to all state residents age 16 and over, but health officials say there will likely be waits for appointments until supply meets the expanded demand.

AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death.

How are residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities getting vaccinated?

Most residents and staff of large nursing homes and assisted living facilities n Hawai`i are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines at free on-site clinics. Apart from a very small number of outstanding clinics, the program is complete.

To ensure long-term care facilities still have access to COVID-19 vaccines — for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots — the federal government is continuing to allocate vaccines to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities.

For kūpuna living in Hawai`i’s hundreds of small community care homes, the state is partnering with local pharmacies to provide shots on site or at drive-through clinics.

Which vaccines require a second shot?

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable.

You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.   

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot, but distribution of that vaccine has been paused.

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older. 

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. Visit the CDC's COVID-19 vaccines page for more information.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination?  
 

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

What should I do with my vaccine card?

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.

You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy.

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes. Experts are still learning about how vaccines affect the spread of COVID-19, so the CDC still recommends taking precautions while in public — including wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Scientists are also studying the effectiveness of the vaccines against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, the CDC says. They can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of them are at a high risk for severe COVID-19.

AARP Hawai`i wants to hear from you

Please take a few minutes to complete our vaccine questionnaire and help guide our efforts to improve the rollout in Hawai`i.

This guide, published Jan. 21, was updated April 15 with additional information on pharmacies offering vaccination.

gray divider line

Also of Interest

This story is provided by AARP Hawaii. Visit the AARP Hawaii page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

More from AARP in Honolulu

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »


Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today

JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR

  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Honolulu
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner
JOIN NOW