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With inter-island vaccine passport set up, state now turns attention to trans-Pacific travel

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:56 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Less than two days after its launch, the next phase of the Safe Travels app caught on quickly.

The program now allows vaccinated Hawaii residents to travel inter-island and avoid quarantine.

“We’ve had over 80,000 people make uploads with their cards into the system already, so we know it works and it’s working well,” said state chief information officer Doug Murdock, who heads the office of Enterprise Technology Services.

The uploads successfully go through as long as Hawaii residents were inoculated locally.

But without an automated method for verifying with local vaccine providers, the cards are individually checked by screeners.

Gov. David Ige hopes that will be fixed by June 1, potentially opening up vaccine passports for residents traveling from the mainland.

“Certainly, for those who are vaccinated in Hawaii, we would have the opportunity to verify vaccination status, so that allows us to be more comfortable,” Ige said Wednesday, in a news conference.

Ige and state leaders are also looking ahead to the challenge of setting up the passport for mainland residents, which is expected to be a logistical nightmare.

“The problem that we tend to have is there’s so many databases full of vaccination records both federal and state,” Murdock said.

“I think I’ve heard there’s at least 65 government databases and then a whole bunch of provider databases that have vaccination records. So a lot of companies are working on trying to bring that all together.”

Ige hopes to have the trans-Pacific option running sometime this summer and it could be a methodical rollout.

“It may be one state at a time or vendor at a time for awhile,” Murdock said. “So you might see us bring on California or CVS or Walgreens or Walmart, something like that. It might be kind of hit and miss for awhile until the country gets everything aligned.”

So much data being transmitted also brings security concerns, but the state says it is constantly monitoring for breaches even though information is encrypted.

Those experiencing any problems uploading are advised to contact the state at hawaiicovid19.com

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