The state’s vaccine incentive program is reaching a key demographic: Young adults

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:44 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s vaccine incentive program is helping to drive up interest among young adults, the group with the lowest vaccination rates.

Officials said nearly two-thirds of the people who have visited since its launch were between the ages of 16 to 34.

“It was refreshing to see that the people we need to move the dial the most with are the ones that are going to the HI Got Vaccinated site,” said Patrick Bullard, who helps run the initiative.

“So they must be very interested in some of the trips, cars and great prizes that we have to give away.”

State Health Department spokesperson Brooks Baehr said well over 90% of people 65 and older have already been vaccinated.

However, those percentages go down with age.

Just 43% of those in the 12- to 17-year-old age group have at least one shot. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 45% have gotten at least one shot.

Those from 30 to 39 have a 52% vaccination rate.

“Some of them think that, and understandably so, that they won’t get as sick as older people,” Brooks said. “And that may be true, but they can still transmit the virus to older people.

“They can still give it to family members. We really think that’s it’s important that this population gets vaccinated not only to protect themselves, but to protect all of Hawaii, and to help us reach that 70.”

The state has said set the 70% vaccination rate as the point at which all COVID restrictions end.

Brooks said that because those younger than 11 years old are not eligible for the vaccine, those 12 and up have to achieve a high rate of vaccination.

“We calculate that 82% population of the population age 12 and older will have to be vaccinated if Hawaii is going to reach that 70% benchmark,” he said.

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