Gov. Ige Provides Update on COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
State leaders agree that demand continues to outpace supply for the COVID-19 vaccine. Hawaiʻi is expected to receive another 33,400 doses by Thursday according to state Department of Health Director Dr. Libby Char–that’s down from the 58,000 received last week.
During a media briefing yesterday, Dr. Char said that 19,000 of the new arrivals are for first-time doses, with the remaining reserved for second doses.
State officials say they hope to vaccinate everyone in the Phase 1A and 1B priority groupings by the end of February, before moving on to the 65 and older age group in Phase 1C.
Gov. Ige said, “We are happy there is high demand for the vaccine and will ensure that we are using all of the doses allocated to Hawai‘i.” He also added, “Until the vaccine is widely administered, I am asking everyone to maintain our vigilance and continue the safe practices that have made Hawaiʻi a leader in containing the spread of COVID-19: wearing masks, washing hands and watching your distance. By doing this, and getting vaccinated when it’s our turn, we can protect public health, revive the economy, and strengthen our communities.”
At the same briefing, Lt. Governor Josh Green gave an update on Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 case count, saying the state currently has a seven-day average daily case count of 122.3, and a 2.54% positivity rate. Hospitalization numbers have dropped from 105 to 95.
Green said, “We have been completing roughly 18,000 first doses each week. Those numbers will increase with the distribution set-ups we have. Over the weekend a successful point of distribution (POD) at UH vaccinated roughly 600 people” The lieutenant governor also asked that people step aside to let kupuna and frontline workers receive their vaccinations first.
“We’re hopeful that with the new administration being inaugurated… they’re making commitments the best they can to ramp up vaccinations. It’s a big lift. We’re told… that there may be an aspirational goal of 100 million vaccines over the first 100 days. We will expect and fight for our share of them for Hawaiʻi,” said Lt. Gov. Green.
In response to Maui Now’s question about navigating the federal VAMS registration site, Lt. Gov. Green agreed there has been challenges. He said, “What we’ve seen done in different places is–and I should start with please, everyone go to HawaiiCOVID19.com… that is the best clearing house to find out where you might get vaccinated, the different locations and the different links are all there. But some of the PODS have utilized their own sign up systems, so when you click onto for instance Hawaii Pacific Health or Queens, it will direct you how to sign up.
“We here at the Department of Health have had some additional support with a special sign-up website… a lot of cases, if there is a glitch in the VAMS program, what we do is take down the information on a piece of paper and then we have professionals in the back filling in all of that data,” he said.
According to the Lieutenant Governor, registration for the first dose is a bit more labor intensive, noting that the second one will be more seamless because their information is already in the system.
When asked about the distribution of vaccine to the outer islands, Dr. Char said they are making sure there is equitable distribution. “My understanding is that there are PODS being run by the District Health Office, PODS being run by the hospital and also by a clinic on Maui… as soon as we get it, it goes directly to those facilities. It doesn’t come to us,” she said.
The full press briefing is posted here.