HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite high vaccination rates and expanding eligibility to those age 16 and up, Maui health officials said they are seeing more vaccine hesitancy.
Maui County officials said vaccine supply in the county is exceeding demand and are urging residents to get vaccinated.
Health officials said they expected about 900 appointments to be scheduled Friday, but only about 500 people registered for their vaccine.
Officials said that in order to prevent doses from being wasted, people must sign up to get their shots.
They also stressed the importance of getting the vaccine to achieve herd immunity, which health officials said may be more difficult as coronavirus mutations continue to be prevalent on the island.
“The claim is that 70% of the people either are immune from the vaccine or got COVID and are immune from getting COVID. If we can get 70%, the epidemic kind of dies out,” said Dr. Lorrin Pang, a Maui District Health officer. “But, that number is no longer 70%. It’s 85 to 90%. Why is that? Because of the variants.”
Health officials said that about 82% of the cases on Maui have been reported as the California variant, which the CDC said is 20% more transmissible than the standard strain of the virus.
Officials said about 32% of Maui County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.