As more COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive, Hawaii prepares to ramp up distribution

Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 4:41 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Hawaii on Monday — the second shipment of the Moderna brand.

That puts the number of doses received so far in the islands at 49,750. And another shipment of the Pfizer version is expected Tuesday, which would push that number to 61,000.

Kupuna in nursing facilities will start receiving the vaccine this week; that’s in addition to the healthcare workers and first responders already getting the shots.

Despite the multiple groups being vaccinated simultaneously, only 14,000 have received the first dose so far.

”We’re ramping up slowly and the reason for that is we’re getting the vaccine in in modest numbers,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green said.

He added the federal government notified the state that the distribution will ramp up in January.

Two weeks ago, Hawaii received its first tray of vaccines — 975 doses.

The next day, hospitals started administering the shot to their healthcare workers.

That expanded last week to paramedics, EMTs, firefighters and law enforcement.

The elderly in nursing facilities are being added to the mix now, but the elderly who are at home will have to wait a little longer.

“That has been determined to be a top priority, of course that’s part of our 1-A, 1-B grouping. But we want to make sure we have enough vaccine to bring people in,” said Green. “When we start to get the large quantities that’s when we’ll have to have the mass vaccination centers available for sign ups.”

Both brands require a two-shot system less than a month apart so those who received the vaccine in that first week will be scheduled to have the second dose administered in the next 10 days.

Green said the most common side effect so far was arm discomfort.

Some reported low-grade fevers or body aches.

Only one person in Hawaii, on Oahu, had an allergic reaction. It was classified as a minor reaction from a person who had experienced similar reactions from previous vaccines.

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