Hawaii health director: It could be weeks before those 70 and older can get vaccine

Hawaii health director: Expect a few weeks before those 75 and older can get first shots

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s health director says it will be a few weeks before residents 70 and older can receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Libby Char said the state is looking at administering first shots in about three weeks as it deals with a massive backlog.

“Because of the weather delays that added some time in there and second doses that are due and we weren’t able to take as many first doses as we like, and so we don’t want people to be calling and calling and calling and not be able to get any appointments,” she said.

That also means that Hawaii is not ready to move into Phase 1C. It includes a large portion of the population — 400,000 to half a million residents.

But officials have talked about prioritizing those 65 and older, and people with underlying health conditions. However, there’s no timeline for when 1C could start.

Statewide, 13.6% of the population has received at least one vaccine dose, with 59% of Hawaii residents 75 and up receiving one dose of the vaccine.

Nearly 18% of Kauai’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, far outpacing the totals seen in other counties.

That’s according to newly-released figures from the state Health Department.

County officials said they haven’t had to cancel appointments because of last week’s delays. Kauai is still concentrating on frontline essential workers and kupuna 75 and up, but officials said they look forward to soon expanding vaccination to those 70 and older.

Maui County has the lowest percentage of the population vaccinated ― at just 8.5% of residents having received at least one dose.

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Altogether, about 14,000 Maui residents have received the COVID vaccine.

It can still be difficult to snag a first dose appointment. Maui Health is not accepting new appointment requests as they finish up with second doses.

The are rescheduling those who had canceled first dose appointments in small batches, but they’ve been contacting those folks directly.

The rate on Hawaii Island now stands at 12.7%. County officials on the Big Island said they had their first mass vaccination clinic Saturday at the Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium in Hilo.

The clinic focused on essential 1B workers such as flight attendants, major grocery and retail store workers such as those who work at Walmart and Target, teachers and more.

The clinic administered 2,000 vaccinations Saturday, which is the biggest effort on the Big Island to date, according to officials.

The next mass vaccination will be in Thursday, this time in Kona. They also said they’re not sure when they’ll expand to other groups in 1C or younger kupuna.

And on Oahu, 14.3% of residents have received at least one dose and 6.6% have received two doses.

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