HONOLULU, Hawaii (KITV) — Are vaccines really going to people who have priority? Is screening being done to make sure people who register for a shot are actually eligible to receive one? Those questions are cause for concern — and we’ve been flooded with them.
KITV-4’s Annalisa Burgos tested the system first-hand and found out there’s no question or field that requires you to prove your eligibility in order to schedule an appointment.
Preschool owner Cheryl Cudiamat is frustrated. She’s following the rules, waiting for her turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine and says she’s being passed-up by people with less priority.
“A lot of preschool teachers a majority of them are older, we take care of our elderly parents, we work in this field for years and years,” she said. “I have some staff wearing three masks, face shields, nurses scrubs.”
Teachers are part of the Phase-1B group, and preschool educators are especially vulnerable due to the nature of their work in close proximity to children.
Cudiamat says she was told by the state not to sign up for a shot at any of the mass-vaccination sites until she’s contacted.
She claims she personally knows people with less priority who either already received a shot or registered to receive one.
“The links actually say do not use this link unless you’re given it,” Cudiamat said. “I thought it was about getting Hawaii open but obviously there are people here that are trying to get their cuts first.”
She believes its honor system is being abused — steering the state’s limited supply away from people who might need it most.
A spokesman for Queen’s Health Systems today told KITV-4 that people who have appointments but are not eligible will be turned away from the site. He added that no vaccine is wasted.
An executive for Hawaii Pacific Health says they’re trying to fix the issue. “We’re actually looking at that right now and we will be making outbound calls to cancel those appointments,” said Dr. Melinda Ashton, executive vice president at Hawaii Pacific Health.
So far, both health providers say they have not had to turn away people due to ineligibility, but critics like Cudiamat want to know how clinic workers are actually verifying eligibility of essential workers in 1B versus 1C.
A representative from the health department says they’re not policing vaccination sign-ups — but hopes people will exercise kindness and honesty by not jumping into any loopholes.
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