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Maui nonprofit receives funds to help with vaccine efforts

Registered nurse Lara Geyrozaga administers a first Pfizer dose to a student at a public housing event on Oahu. PROJECT VISION HAWAII photo

The Maui News

Hui No Ke Ola Pono has received $50,000 to help remove barriers to vaccination among communities most impacted by COVID-19, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii announced Monday.

The Native Hawaiian health care nonprofit on Maui was among five organizations in Hawaii to receive grants totaling $400,000 to assist in vaccination access.

“Our communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 illness are also the communities where vaccination rates are lagging,” Dr. John Yang, president and medical director for the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, said in a news release. “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 Hawaii closer to the end of this pandemic.”

Other organizations receiving funds included Project Vision Hawaii, $150,000; Marshallese Community Organization of Hawaii, $75,000; Pacific Gateway Center, $75,000; and City Church, $60,000.

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

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