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Oahu’s vaccine eligibility expands this week, but the state isn’t getting more doses

Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 11:10 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the next couple weeks, hundreds of thousands more Oahu residents will become eligible for the COVID vaccine.

But at the same time, health officials say the federal government will be sending fewer shots.

“There is going to be a vaccine for everybody. It’s just going to take a little time,” said Department of Health spokesperson Brooks Baehr.

Starting Monday, Oahu residents over the age of 50 can start making appointments for the shot. On Apr. 19, eligibility expands to everyone 16 and up.

[Read a related report: Biden makes all adults eligible for a vaccine on April 19]

That all means Hawaii is on track to meet President Biden’s vaccine distribution timeline.

But it’s going to take patience and persistence to actually line up an appointment due to a shortage of the shots. And that shortage could get worse for at least the next two weeks.

“We were just notified by the White House yesterday that next week they are dropping the Johnson & Johnson allocation by 85% from what we’re getting this week,” said Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii CEO.

As for the Pfizer and Moderna, Raethel added, “Instead of numbers going up through the month of April like we anticipated they’re at best flat.”

Officials are urging people who are looking for an appointment to check out pharmacies.

“There are approximately 100 drug stores across the state of Hawaii that are getting direct shipments.” Raethel said.

One of the easiest ways to sign up is by using the Department of Health’s vaccine finder at HawaiiCOVID19.com. It can be found by clicking here.

“Go to the registration page. There’s a whole list of vaccination opportunities,” said Baehr.

“If you click on vaccine finder and enter your zip code you’re going to find pharmacies hopefully in your neighborhood that have vaccine available for you.”

Health officials say if you’re eligible for the vaccine right now you should make an appointment as quickly as possible because in a few days those appointments are going to be much harder to get.

Services for older adults who may need additional assistance including signing up online or transportation can call Aloha United Way at 211.

Other counties such as Kauai, Maui and Hawaii have already opened eligibility to those 16 and older.

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