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Requiring boosters for Safe Travels? Details still need to be ironed out, Ige says

Right now under the program, boosters are not required to be considered fully vaccinated.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:53 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. Ige still hasn’t officially required booster shots to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ under the state’s Safe Travels program.

When asked about the pending change Tuesday, Ige said details were still in the works, and they were closely following guidance from the CDC.

“We are working through what the requirements would be to allow us to identify whether an individual is up to date in their vaccinations, “ Gov. Ige said. “We are working through what would be required to manually evaluate that status, and looking for ways to automate the assessment of whether someone has gotten all of their vaccination shots — including their boosters.”

So far, the CDC hasn’t changed their definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster.

In early January, the governor laid out his intent to require a booster shot for out-of-state travelers wanting to skip quarantine. Under current rules, travelers who got two doses of the COVID vaccine or show a negative COVID test prior to arrival don’t have to isolate upon arrival.

[Read a related report: You might soon need a booster to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ under Safe Travels]

Having enough personnel to verify vaccination status has also been a challenge thus far for the state, and the governor wants to ensure staffing levels are secure before rolling out new requirements.

“There are lots of logistics and details that need to be ready. You know, we were already seeing staffing shortages, like many are seeing all across the state. We have been unable to hire all the people we need to implement the safe travels program,” Ige added.

When a booster becomes a part of the requirements, Gov. Ige previously said he would announce the change two weeks ahead of the implementation date to give people time to adjust and prepare.

For now, there is no set date for booster requirements to begin.

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