On March 6, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty, staff and students actively involved in the local Filipino community helped to conduct full health assessments and vaccinate the elderly 75 and older and those 65 to 74 years old with pre-existing conditions. In partnership with the Filipino Community Center (FilCom), Kalihi-Palama Health Center and multiple Filipino community organizations, the event was held at Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa in Kalihi. It was the first of several COVID-19 vaccination clinics that will be taking place at various churches across Oʻahu in an effort to provide outreach to those who cannot access vaccination websites to make an appointment.
“Filipinos have been hit the second hardest by COVID-19, and offering the clinics in familiar, safe spaces promotes the likelihood they will get vaccinated,” said Agnes Malate, director of the UH Mānoaʻs Health Careers Opportunity Program and coordinator of the overall FilCom COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts. “The response has been overwhelming, and we were able to fill 30 appointment slots and had a waiting list in case there were any available openings.”
The Oʻahu Filipino Catholic Clubs have been instrumental in providing outreach to the churches and Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva was among those vaccinated and showing his support.
The UH Mānoa team assisting with the project spans multiple disciplines and have provided overall guidance, established partnerships with community organizations, developed and translated print and online material and more. They include:
- Amy Agbayani, assistant vice chancellor for student diversity emerita
- Rosie Alegado, faculty, Oceanography/community liaison, Tropical Medicine Clinical Laboratory
- Ellen-Rae Cachola, evening supervisor and archives manager, UH School of Law
- Loreto Coloma Jr., associate director of admissions, UH School of Law
- Clementina Ceria-Ulep, associate dean of academic affairs, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
- May Rose Dela Cruz, assistant researcher, Office of Public Health Studies
- Clemen Montero, educational specialist, Center for Philippine Studies
- Loreto Perillo, faculty, Department of Theatre and Dance
- Angela Sy, assistant researcher, John A. Burns School of Medicine
The effort is part of the FilCom CARES project which began in November 2020 when CARES funding was secured with assistance from The Legal Clinic. The UH team, including various UH Mānoa students, assisted in organizing nine COVID-19 testing events in late November and December 2020 in communities throughout Oʻahu. The tests were provided by the Tropical Medicine Clinical Laboratory at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
- Related UH News story: UH lab provides free, rapid result COVID-19 testing to underserved, December 4, 2020
“Prior to November, there were no coordinated public or private COVID-19 response in the Filipino community despite available data showing Filipinos were overrepresented in positive cases. Our UH team stepped up to help the community and was a driving force with every aspect of the project. It has been a meaningful and rewarding experience for all of us to serve the community along with the many partners,” said Malate.
Additional vaccination clinics are being coordinated in the coming weeks, including one on March 11, 9 a.m.—1 p.m. at the FilCom Center.