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paramedic receives vaccine
Honolulu paramedic Shirley Ann Cazinha receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Leeward Community College hosted the first vaccination event in the state for first responders on December 22, 2020. It was the first of six events in December at Leeward to vaccinate firefighters, paramedics, lifeguards and police officers in a partnership with the City and County of Honolulu and the Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

The campus is providing support staff and open space for the events that are expected to vaccinate about 2,400 first responders. University of Hawaiʻi nursing and medical students were among the volunteers to administer the vaccinations.

The Leeward campus has a history of partnering with city and state agencies for law enforcement training exercises and community events. Leeward CC leaders have worked with the Honolulu Police Department and Department of Emergency Management on projects starting in 2011 when they hosted training for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that was held in Honolulu. In recent months, they have also provided a location for mass COVID-19 testing and food distribution.

“ Leeward has always been committed to this type of activity,” Leeward CC Chancellor Carlos Peñaloza said. “ Our staff and our administration have always served and collaborated well with HPD and the county agencies in delivering this type of event.”

“ We are thankful to our administration,” said William Akama, Leeward CC enterprise operations officer. “I’ve had full support from them for the Food Bank to the COVID-19 testing. Oftentimes we get asked on a moment’s notice, and our campus has all been a part of this to make it successful.”

One of the first to receive the vaccine on Tuesday was a Leeward CC and Kapiʻolani CC graduate, Shirley Ann Cazinha, who serves on Oʻahu as an Emergency Medical Services paramedic.

The event is an example of how the University of Hawaiʻi is working to help the public and partner with agencies through the pandemic. Last week, UH Mānoa nursing students attended a vaccination drill at Leeward CC, and UH Maui College hosted a vaccination drill with its nursing students.

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