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Honolulu police chief, first responders roll up their sleeves for COVID vaccine

Updated: Dec. 23, 2020 at 5:08 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s police chief and a number of first responders rolled up their sleeves Tuesday to get vaccinated as part of a push to boost confidence in the shot among the public.

The event comes as Hawaii seeks to quickly distribute the limited number of doses distributed to the state.

First responders, health care workers and those living in nursing homes have been identified as the highest priority for the vaccine. In a separate event Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green — a physician — got the vaccine.

And authorities are also gearing up for a mass vaccination event for care home residents.

“It’s the beginning of the beginning of bringing this pandemic to an end,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, during a news conference at the vaccination event for first responders.

“The only way we bring this pandemic to an end is by everyone getting vaccinated.”

[Read more: ‘It provides hope for us’: Lt. Gov. Josh Green receives COVID-19 vaccine]

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard was among those vaccinated publicly Tuesday.

Last week, she told the police commission that she was “still on the fence” about getting the vaccine because she was “worried about upsetting the balance of the body.”

Her comments sparked criticism from lawmakers and health leaders and she later reversed course.

“I’m one of those people who had to do plenty of research, read the research, I need to see what’s out there before I make a decision and I make an informed decision, and that’s what I’ve done today,” she said.

“If it means by showing that by me taking this vaccine that other people are willing to step up and they have some second thoughts about it and so that we can make our island safe, then I’m there to do it.”

The state received its first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14 and Moderna’s a week later. As of Tuesday, Hawaii has received a total of 33,450 doses of the two vaccines.

This story will be updated.

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