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Survey: 84% of staff at long-term care facilities in Hawaii are fully vaccinated

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:32 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:35 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are nearly 50 long-term care facilities across the state, and experts say they’re setting the tone in the fight against COVID-19.

A recent Healthcare Association of Hawaii survey shows 84% of staff at these facilities are fully vaccinated.

“We’re incredibly proud of all of our staff who made that decision to go and get vaccinated, so that they could provide the best possible care for their residents and also for the families as well of these residents,” said HAH president and CEO Hilton Raethel.

Raethel says that 84% is 30 percentage points higher than the national average among long-term care facility staff and in select facilities, all staff and residents are immunized.

“The infection rate and the hospitalization rate and the death rate, even for this elderly very fragile population, dropped dramatically and that’s a very clear and compelling story that these vaccinations are safe,” Raethel added.

However, what’s happening at these centers doesn’t translate to the state’s population.

State figures show there are districts where 35% or less of residents have gotten the shot, including on Oahu’s North Shore, Leeward Coast, and parts of Kihei on Maui.

“Even though the vaccines have been widely used across the US and in Hawaii, some people still consider them experimental and are concerned that until the FDA provides full approval, they’re not willing to get the vaccine,” Raethel said.

Raethel expects the state will reach the 60% vaccination rate by the end of the next week, but says it will take a little longer to reach 70% unless the FDA signs off on vaccines for children under 12.

“That’s a big chunk of the population that’s not been vaccinated and when you take that 255,000 kids out of the equation, it makes it really hard to get to that 70% target,” Raethel said.

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