Green outlines proposal for expanding vaccine eligibility to all Hawaii adults by May 1

Updated: Mar. 19, 2021 at 4:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lt. Gov. Josh Green has asked the state health director to set May 1 as the day when all Hawaii adults would be eligible to get a COVID vaccine.

Green said the first step to getting to that goal is by opening eligibility to people ages 55 to 64 the week of March 28. The same week, he’d like to broaden eligibility to everyone with a chronic disease.

Then on April 18, he allow people ages 45 to 54 to start to sign up for the shot.

“In order to get to a wide open status for the state by the week of May 1 we need to make that change,” Green said. “We want to meet the President’s goal.”

HNN asked the Department of Health if the agency plans to make the proposal official, but didn’t get a direct answer. A spokesperson said the agency is “excited about the prospect of being able to offer vaccines to all adults as soon as possible.”

The statement continues: “The Department of Health bases eligibility decisions on the data surrounding current and projected vaccination numbers, appointment availability and most importantly upon the amount of vaccine allocated and available to the people of Hawaii. We are optimistic greater supply in the coming weeks will facilitate a faster pace.”

As of Thursday, 518,381 shots had been administered statewide.

Many residents that HNN talked with Friday seemed eager for the vaccine and liked the idea of expanding eligibility to all adults May 1.

“I think it’s really great,” said Kaneohe resident Melanie Sanchez.

Monica Chan added, “Other states like Alaska have been able to do that already.”

But there was concern that rushing the process could make it harder for those who are more vulnerable to get an appointment in a timely manner.

“Take care of them first cause that’s where the highest death rate is,” said Wendell Chun.

Health officials say Hawaii is expected to see a dramatic increase in vials of the vaccine next month, including more doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

“A lot of people like the idea of getting one shot and being done with it,” Green said.

“If we reach our goals, which we will 600,000 doses (of the vaccine will be delivered) by April 1, 900,000 by May 1 and 1.25 million doses delivered by June 1.”

According to the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, the state is expected to receive nearly 69,000 doses of COVID vaccine next week, primarily Pfizer and Moderna.

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