Updated: September 29, 2022
Come Monday, a COVID-19 booster shot will be required for eligible individuals in order to be considered fully vaccinated in Maui County. Proof of a booster will be required to confirm patrons are “up to date” with their vaccination, if they want to dine indoors at a restaurant or bar, or exercise inside of a gym.
The added measure is being called a “vaccine update” and will be included in the revised Maui Countyʻs Public Health Emergency Rules, set to take effect on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
Under the revised rules, the definition of “fully vaccinated” to bring someone “up to date” for their vaccination status, will mean having a booster shot after five or six months of the Pfizer or Moderna second shot or two months after the Johnson & Johnson single shot.
“This takes effect for everyone throughout the County of Maui,” said Mayor Victorino during a press briefing on Friday afternoon. “Those who are required to show vaccination cards–like restaurants, gyms, [and] other areas where the mask wearing becomes limited or is [for] extended periods of time not applied indoors–they are the ones that need to be [checking].”
“If you go to a supermarket, very seldom do people walk in without a mask on, or most retail stores and other businesses. Many of them have signs on their doors–‘masks required.’ So I would say those high risk are the ones that would be more applicable for this; and just using common sense would probably be the best way I could sum it up,” said Mayor Victorino.
He continued to advocate for booster shots and vaccinations, and encouraged continued vigilance, pointing to new studies from the CDC backing the effectiveness of boosters as the “best protection” against disease and hospitalization caused by the omicron variant.
“I remind all of you, we beat the California variant. We beat the delta variant. We now have to beat the omicron and to keep ourselves safe and into the future,” said Mayor Victorino.
CDC recommends that everyone ages 16 years and older get a booster shot after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. “You are eligible for a booster at 5 months after completing Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, 6 months after completing Moderna primary series, and 2 months after the initial J&J/Janssen vaccine. Individuals ages 16-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine,” according to the CDC website.
“Many of the younger ones have just started their series of shots, so I don’t think many would be eligible if you’re talking time frame,” said Mayor Victorino.
The US Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization earlier this month for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to expand the use of a single booster dose to include use in individuals 12 through 15 years of age.
“I will leave it to the discretion of the restaurant. There’s no hard and fast rule that can say you allow or don’t allow. If you’re able to get a shot–I’m talking about children that are under 15–I’ll let you make the decision, owners,” said Mayor Victorino.
The mayor met with Maui Health, tourism and restaurant leaders today. He said that in his conversation with a hui of restaurants on Maui, “It was very clear that many of them want to abide by it, because all they need is an outbreak in their facility or someone gets sick, especially their staff. They’re very short handed as it is… and it makes it stressful for those left behind to work.”
“After speaking with leadership from Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi hospitals, it’s evident that our healthcare facilities are at a tipping point,” Mayor Victorino said in a press release update. “If omicron continues to spread at the current rate, our hospitals will be forced to implement emergency procedures. We can’t send patients to Oʻahu or other islands, so booster shots, masks and physical distancing are more important than ever in high-risk venues like bars, restaurants and gyms.”
There were 42 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 as of 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. This includes 26 vaccinated (eight boosted), and 16 unvaccinated. Of the 42 COVID-19 hospitalizations, five are in the ICU (2 boosted/3 unvaccinated), and none are on a ventilator.
This is down from the 44 hospitalizations reported on Thursday, but surpasses the 41 COVID-19 hospitalizations during the height of the delta surge in August.
Maui County revised rules are posted at www.mauicounty.gov.
Vaccination and booster clinics are available throughout Maui County by appointment. Walk-ins are accepted at some locations.
Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/01/21/booster-required-on-maui-to-be-considered-fully-vaccinated-effective-monday-jan-24/