As new infections soar, Hawaii sees growing demand for booster shots

Amid the soaring case loads, there’s been a huge jump in demand for booster shots, according to Queen’s Medical Center.
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 5:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid soaring COVID case loads, there’s also been a huge jump in demand for booster shots, according to Queen’s Medical Center.

On Monday, Queen’s announced expanded hours at its Blaisdell vaccination clinic from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It used to take its last shots at 6:40 p.m.

“We are seeing a huge increase in our volumes, starting at the beginning of last week,” said Mary Bedell, director of Queen’s vaccination clinics.

“I think people want to get their boosters. I think they’re seeing the numbers and they are hearing that it is highly contagious and they’re trying to protect themselves.”

On a normal day, the clinic sees 200 to 300 people. But on Monday, 700 people signed up for appointments. Another 600 are due Wednesday.

And that doesn’t include the scores of walk-ins.

Bedell said about 80% of Monday’s turnout was for the booster shot.

State Health Department officials said there’s no shortage of doses for the first and second shot and the booster shot.

“We have a great supply over 200,000 doses of vaccine in state waiting to be used. Supply is not a problem and really access isn’t a huge issue,” said Health Department spokesman Brooks Baehr.

“When it comes to vaccines, we have 516 locations in state where you could get vaccinated in the month of December.”

Although the supply of the vaccine and the booster shot hasn’t been a problem, it’s a different story for COVID tests ― as witnessed by the long lines and long waits at testing sites around the state.

And because of the limited availability of tests, some medical experts said the number of infections may be higher than official reports.

On Sunday, the state reported a record 2,205 infections, followed by 1,334 Monday.

“Right now ... we probably have double the number of positives out there based on the data. So our number right now is more in the 4,000 to 5,000 range,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, of the Premier Medical Group.

According to Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Hawaii’s healthcare industry is still working out the details on expanding the availability of COVID testing around the islands.

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