HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawaii's Department of Health continues to vaccinate first responders and vulnerable groups from the H1N1 virus. It should be available for the rest of the population, later this month or the first week of November. But will local residents line up to get it?
It's hard to say at this point. Some people still have a lot questions about the vaccine and how safe it is.
But new studies from other countries could indicate how swine flu could impact us here in Hawaii.
It's killed close to 4,700 people worldwide. The H1N1 virus continues to put a major strain on healthcare system in many countries. In the U.S., 974 people have died from it so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But Hawaii hasn't been hit as hard as other parts of the country.
"It doesn't seem very scary right now at this point," said Dominik Kozissnik, a downtown Honolulu resident who is originally from Austria. "You don't hear about as much compared to the beginning of it."
So, when the swine flu vaccine becomes available for the general public later in the month, are people going to get it?
"Nope," said Nicole Musetti, who also lives in downtown Honolulu. "Because I'm perfectly healthy as it is. Don't really think I need it."
"I think it's good for the population because a lot of people are getting sick right now," countered Daniel Victorino, who lives in Waipahu.
So far Hawaii has not seen a second wave of swine flu cases, but health officials warn, this is still early in the season. And preliminary studies from other countries give a snapshot of what could come our way.
They show how healthy people from other countries are getting seriously ill very quickly from the H1N1 virus, even experiencing organ failure. And in Mexico, 41 percent of young adults who were hospitalized because of swine flu, die from it.
"That's surprising," said Matt Maggiolo, a student at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU). "It scares me."
In the U.S., that percentage is only about seven percent so far. That's enough to raise some doubt among this group of college students.
"No, I probably won't take it just because I prefer it to be tested first and just to see more results with it," said Aimee Tresierra, who also attends HPU.
But her friend Matt Maggiolo disagrees.
"Yeah, I think I probably would take it," he said. "Just as a precaution, just in case some type of an outbreak might happen."
As U.S. health officials battle the flu season on two fronts, folks in Hawaii continue to be divided over whether or not the H1N1 vaccine is necessary.
"Don't want to get it too early," said Kozissnik. "Going to hold off a little while."
"I will definitely try to get it," said Maggiolo. "What else can I say? As a precaution. you never know what might happen."