Vaccination rates in Hawaii care homes far exceed national average

Healthcare workers vaccination rates

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Vaccinations at the state’s long-term care facilities are far surpassing their mainland counterparts, a new Healthcare Association of Hawaii report finds.

Some 41 out of the state’s 45 nursing facilities took part in the survey.

It found that 13 facilities across the state have vaccinated more than 90% of staff.

On average, 78% of the staff at nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities have received shots, which is more than double the national average of 38%.

Vaccination rates among residents of long-term care facilities is also higher in Hawaii — at 90% compared to the national average of 78%.

When Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination plan began in December, some of those eligible for the shot — like healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents — voiced concerns about getting it.

Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the healthcare association, believes education about the vaccine along with a partnership with pharmacy chains has contributed to the rise in vaccination rates over time.

“Our own vaccination rates have risen, as CVS and Walgreens conduct this series of clinics and staff are becoming more comfortable with the concept of vaccination and as they see more of their colleagues being vaccinated, with generally minus side effects,” said Raethel.

“Our members are working hard to ensure that their staff are working with our residents and families to ensure the highest vaccination rates possible.”

Shanty Tangonan, certified nursing assistant at Garden Isle Rehabilitation, said she was one of the staff members at her facility hesitant to get the shot.

“But as I was seeing, like, on the news, how a lot of the nursing homes were getting affected by the virus, that affected me very much, because I was like, you know, I take care of like, around nine to eight residents a day,” said Tangonan. “And I felt that it was my duty to make sure that they’re safe from the virus.”

Even with those numbers, Raethel said, it will take some time before they allow families and friends to visit residents as the vaccine becomes available to more people.

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