Maui Business

Maui Health Conducts Table-Top Exercise Today to Prepare for Vaccine Arrival, Distribution

December 10, 2020, 9:12 AM HST
* Updated December 10, 4:27 PM
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Maui Health will be conducting a table-top exercise today to practice and isolate any issues in the transport and storage of the COVID-19 vaccine, when it arrives in Maui County.

Dr. Vijak Ayasanonda, who is an emergency room physician at the Maui hospital, discussed the exercises and answered questions on hospital capacity, vaccine distribution, and pandemic fatigue during a morning interview on KPOA 93.5 FM with host Shane Kahalehau.

Dr. Ayasanonda says Maui County will be able to receive and store the Pfizer vaccine. Since the vaccine needs to be stored at temperatures lower than a traditional freezer, members of a task force searched for and located a freezer with the the capabilities at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.

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“They are loaning it to us to use.  So with a little bit of maneuvering, engineering and planning, we will be able to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Ayasanonda.

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He cautioned the public about becoming complacent once the vaccine does arrive saying, “It’s not being stressed enough, but even when the vaccine starts rolling out–everyone has been saying that this is the magic cure, that everything is fixed, that everything is going back to normal, and I hate to break it to everybody, but you’ve got to be careful–It’s going to take a very long time to get people vaccinated.  I know a lot of people are hesitant about getting the vaccine,” said Dr. Ayasanonda, as he urged the public to check with reputable sources for information like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We can’t stop our current practices.  We’ve still got to do physical distancing; we’ve still got to do the hand washing; we’ve still got to limit the group gatherings and restricting travel.  So it’s not as though we’re going to get an early Christmas present, I’m afraid.  And, yes, I will still be wearing a mask, even if I get vaccinated because you don’t know.  It’s not 100 percent.  Nothing is 100 percent.  I will still be wearing a mask along with everyone else in the hospital despite getting the vaccine,”said Dr. Ayasanonda.

According to Maui Health, there are currently two people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Maui as of this morning.  This includes those who are infectious and have positive COVID-19 tests. Neither of them are on a ventilator.

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Dr. Ayasanonda said that for December, the average has been 2-3 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Maui.  There is currently a single warm unit activated for COVID positive isolation, down from previous conditions reported during surges several months ago.

*Note: KPOA 93.5 FM is part of the Pacific Media Group family of radio stations.  Pacific Media Group is the parent company of Maui Now.

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