Q: Should I get vaccinated even if I already had COVID-19? How long should I wait?
Chrissy Miller, Employee Health and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Manager, Maui Health: Yes, you should still get vaccinated. People who get COVID do have some natural immunity after they recover. However, the vaccine provides an extra layer of protection and because we don’t yet know how long natural immunity lasts after a COVID-19 infection, getting vaccinated can help you stay protected for longer.
Additionally, there is evidence that vaccination offers greater protection against COVID-19 than the antibodies you get naturally after you recover. In one study, people who had recovered from COVID-19 were twice as likely to get it again if they were unvaccinated.
People who received monoclonal antibodies (immunotherapy) or convalescent plasma while being treated for COVID-19 should wait 90 days before getting vaccinated.
Adults and children who have a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome should talk with a doctor and wait until they’ve recovered from COVID and 90 days after they were diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome before getting vaccinated.
For everyone else, once you’ve recovered from COVID and are no longer infectious, you can get vaccinated.
If you have a history of medical issues or any concerns, we encourage you to talk to your primary care physician before getting vaccinated, as they know your health history and can make medical recommendations for your individual health and safety.
For more information, visit mauihealth.org/ covidvaccine or cdc.gov/covidvaccine.
Q: Does Maui Memorial Medical Center have enough oxygen to treat COVID patients?
Wade Ebersole, Chief Operating Officer, Maui Health: Yes. Maui Memorial Medical Center has enough oxygen to treat COVID and non-COVID patients. Our supplier has confirmed they are able to continue to meet our oxygen needs, even when our COVID patient numbers were significantly higher than they are now.
We have also taken additional steps to protect our supply. We recently received an on-site oxygen generator from Kaiser Permanente. This machine can take regular air and convert it into medical-grade oxygen. We can use it to supplement our liquid oxygen supply and can produce more if needed.
Our leadership team has also implemented an oxygen stewardship program to ensure we are managing our oxygen resources appropriately. We have taken steps to frequently monitor oxygen supply equipment, to educate employees on steps to reduce oxygen waste and reevaluate patient use protocols to help improve overall oxygen use efficiencies based on the appropriate standards of care.
We are confident Maui Memorial Medical Center has ample oxygen supply for all patient care needs.
* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealth.org/healthwise.