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Hawaii leads the way in COVID vaccinations, but struggles to bring case counts down

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 11:21 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Although Hawaii is leading the way nationally in COVID vaccinations for adults, daily case counts continue to hover in the high double digits.

Why? The simple reason is that lots of folks aren’t vaccinated yet.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green noted there are still hundreds of thousands of people who have no immunity and can still catch the virus.

But he does foresee cases dropping by the end of the month as more people get vaccinated.

Gov. David Ige told Hawaii News Now on Monday that continued COVID case counts in the 80s and higher are the reason why the state is not rushing to fully reopen.

COVID restrictions remain in place for a number of activities and businesses, though they have been eased in recent months. There are also conversations underway to modify Oahu’s tiered reopening system to incorporate vaccinations.

“We want to complete the job,” he said. “We want to achieve herd immunity in Hawaii.”

Ige added that he believes herd immunity ― or the level of vaccinations needed to prevent the virus from continuing to spread ― is achievable in Hawaii.

Green said as of Saturday, more than 1.3 million vaccine shots have been administered.

He said Hawaii is the no. 1 state for vaccinations for those 18 and older and adds that 70% of the people in that age group are getting at least their first shot.

Green believes the state is heading in the right direction.

“We will head to about a million people in the state that will be fully vaccinated and immune and that will leave about 400,000 people that have not received shots, have not received immunity and we’ll only get herd immunity over time,” said Green.

The lieutenant governor said sporadic gatherings are contributing to the daily infection counts but says hospital numbers and positivity rates are steady.

Green said he believes in about a week, 12- to 15-year-olds will be eligible to get the vaccine for the first time. He said that age group makes up more than 50,000 people in the state.

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