Hawaii hits 2M doses of vaccine administered, but officials not ready to ease restrictions yet

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 2:40 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:00 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii reached a critical milestone in the fight against COVID on Monday, surpassing 2 million doses of the vaccine administered statewide.

While Gov. David Ige says he’s happy so many people are getting the shot, he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he isn’t ready to ease any COVID rules.

In a state with just 1.4 million people, health officials described hitting the 2 million mark as a remarkable achievement.

It means 79% of residents who are eligible for the shot are now fully vaccinated.

“We’ve reached now 90% of everyone 12 and older to at least initiate. That’s a lot of immunity,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “Combined with the 5.5% that have been confirmed positive, that means our immunity keeps growing. That’s why our cases keep dropping.”

Statewide, there are about 5,700 active infections ― half what it was three weeks ago.

“That means our hospitalizations will come down. Fatalities will come down. And that will be the rationale to reduce restrictions,” Green said.

But when that could happen isn’t clear.

Hawaii has seen 168 COVID deaths this month alone.

On Monday morning, the governor told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he thinks lifting any of the current COVID rules would be premature.

“We still have too many cases,” Ige said.

“Please be patient for another two, four, six weeks because we are making progress.”

According to the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, 253 people remain hospitalized with the virus. Officials say the figure would be hard for Hawaii frontline caregivers to manage ― without the help of hundreds of traveling medical staff from the mainland.

Meanwhile, association President and CEO Hilton Raethel said unlike some states with lower vaccination rates, “we’re not seeing a surge in pediatric hospitalizations.”

Green says more than 70% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

“There are lots of milestones we are meeting,” he said. “I would personally like to see friends and families of the high school football players and college football players be allowed in the stadium if they’re fully vaccinated. That’s absolutely common sense.

“So hopefully we’ll get to do some of those minor adjustments in a couple weeks.”

Green also said he believes if we stay on the same track there’s a good chance of having a “normal Halloween.”

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