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Study: Hawaii’s measured vaccine rollout has gotten better results than 80% of the country

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - While Hawaii’s vaccine rollout is sometimes criticized as being too slow, it’s getting praise nationally.

A new study revealed the state’s prudent process ― of slowly expanding eligibility ― is getting better results than more than 80% of the country. The data was collected by the Associated Press.

The main takeaway from the study: Faster isn’t always better.

In other places across the country, lines for vaccine clinics can sometimes last hours.

Video was captured this week in Miami of a line snaking for blocks with thousands anxious to get a shot but unsure if they would.

Florida was one of the states that raced ahead of others, making the vaccine available to a larger portion of its population.

[Read more: Hawaii, other states with slow vaccine rollout performing better than ‘race ahead’ jurisdictions]

Some health experts now say that was a mistake.

Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, a health data specialist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, said many states that opened eligibility too quickly weren’t prepared for the demand.

[Read more: LIST: New COVID vaccine clinics open on Oahu, Lanai and Big Island]

“If that infrastructure wasn’t in place. Throwing the doors open to everybody backfired,” she said.

Hawaii did the opposite, cautiously advancing from phase to phase.

Hilton Raethel, head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, says decisions on when expand eligibility have been on availability of the shot.

“The vaccine supply has been limited across the entire nation. We didn’t want people to have false expectations,” Raethel said.

“The other thing we didn’t want to do is we didn’t want to overwhelm the vaccination centers.”

The study found as of March 10, only 26% of adults in Hawaii were eligible for the vaccine ― the lowest in the country.

But providers delivered 42,614 doses per 100,000 adults. That was the 8th highest rate in the country.

While Hawaii’s done well so far, Wurtz says the virus is still a threat and that it’s critical shots are given as soon as they arrive.

“Not making fertile ground for new variants to develop,” she said.

Hawaii health experts say they expect a significant increase of the vaccine to arrive in Hawaii in the next few weeks but still haven’t received details from the federal government.

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