State is hopeful Biden administration will dramatically ramp up vaccine distribution

Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 at 6:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Like many states, Hawaii isn’t getting the number of COVID-19 vaccines that were promised by the federal government.

While the state’s allotment for the vaccine during the Dec. 15 rollout was at near full capacity ― with 58,000 doses ― that distribution has dropped to about 36,000 doses this week.

And Thursday, the state found out it’s allocation isn’t increasing for now.

“We have the capacity to do 60,000 a week if we’re at full tilt capacity and we’re getting half of that. So we would sure like to have more vaccine from the mainland,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

Green says it will likely take several weeks for the new Biden administration to ramp up distribution, which lagged during the waning days of the Trump administration.

Green added that he expects the drugs to be more available by March.

That’s when the federal government will likely approve vaccines from other drug manufactures like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson which could double production.

“When we add these extra companies, the sky is the limit. We will add personnel. We’ll push the envelope a lot,” he said.

Green added that the Biden administration is also freeing up more federal money so the National Guard can assist in the vaccine distribution effort here.

Hawaii will need the federal government’s help to vaccinate the population.

Last week, the state distributed about 26,000 doses.

If Hawaii continues at the current rate, the vaccination effort won’t be completed until August 2022. The state, however, is still confident that it will get enough vaccine to meet its goals ― vaccinating most of those eligible by this summer.

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