Maui News

Hui No Ke Ola Pono Gets COVID-19 Grant from Kaiser Permanente for Vaccine Outreach

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Administration of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at Hui No Ke Ola Pono. For a running list of vaccination sites available throughout the County of Maui in the month of September, click here.  PC: file Hui No Ke Ola Pono.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi announced grants to various Hawaiʻi community organizations to help them remove barriers to vaccination among communities most impacted by COVID-19. The money, totaling approximately $400,000, will support equitable access to vaccinations.

“Our communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 illness are also the communities where vaccination rates are lagging,” said John Yang, MD, president and medical director for the Hawaiʻi Permanente Medical Group. “By supporting trusted community-based organizations in their work, we can further efforts to disseminate educational materials and remove barriers to vaccine access, ultimately improving vaccination rates and bringing Hawaiʻi closer to the end of this pandemic.”

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Project Vision Hawaiʻi received $150,000
  • Marshallese Community Organization of Hawaiʻi received $75,000
  • Pacific Gateway Center received $75,000
  • Hui No Ke Ola Pono received $50,000
  • City Church received $60,000

The money will help these organizations provide culturally relevant vaccine content aimed at addressing hesitancy and correcting misinformation within their target populations. It will also help ensure the success of pop-up vaccination clinics by providing on-site support staff. Long term, the funding will support overall health equity such as encouraging well-child visits. Kaiser Permanente notes that routine vaccinations and checkups have declined due to the pandemic.

“In some areas we serve, such as Wahiawa, we are seeing vaccination rates as low as 35-45%,” said Terrina Wong, deputy director for Social and Immigration Services at Pacific Gateway Center. “To support the vaccine efforts in Wahiawa and the surrounding communities, where 26% of the residents speak a language other than English, the Kaiser Permanente grant has provided us with the resources for interpreters onsite to accommodate Chuukese, Ilocano and Tagalog speaking residents. We understand that there are questions about the vaccine and the most effective way to approach those questions is with information from trusted sources in native languages. The support and resources from Kaiser Permanente allow us to connect with communities who feel left out or left behind. We all need to work together to get more people vaccinated.” 

The grants are part of a comprehensive national Kaiser Permanente COVID-19 education campaign to fill information gaps and foster trust among communities most impacted by the pandemic. So far, Kaiser Permanente has provided $5 million in grants to support 24 nonprofit and community-based organizations that are providing direct assistance in communities across the United States to people most affected by COVID-19. The campaign is designed to encourage vaccination, motivate people to keep wearing masks, physically distance, and avoid gatherings until the pandemic ends.


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