The state Department of Health released an updated summary of its COVID-19 vaccination schedule on Friday, detailing how the vaccine will be made available to all Hawaiian residents by the end of the summer.
Since mid-December, the state and its partners have been administering vaccines as part of Phase 1-A of the plan, which includes healthcare workers in hospitals and local residents, as well as workers in long-term care facilities. These categories are estimated at 6% of Hawaii’s population of approximately 1.4 million.
On Friday evening, the department said more than 35,000 vaccinations had been given nationwide and that Hawaii had received 91,700 doses of vaccine nationwide. Another 17,550 were ordered for delivery next week.
Phase 1-B includes Kupuna 75 and above, as well as frontline workers including corrections officers, educators, and critical transportation and supply workers estimated at approximately 20% of the Hawaiian population.
The department didn’t have exact dates for the Phase 1-B rollout, but said details on how seniors 75 and older can enroll for vaccinations can be expected as early as next week. In addition, the locations and opening dates of the major vaccinations or vaccination delivery points will be announced shortly.
Phase 1-C includes people ages 65 to 74 and those ages 16 to 64 at high risk, as well as other key workers estimated to make up approximately 47% of the state’s population.
Finally, Phase 2 includes the rest of the population – people aged 16 and over who did not belong to any of the previous categories – which is expected to begin in early summer, depending on the distribution of the doses by the federal government.
The department said, based on the estimated number of people in each of these priority groups, that 73% of the state’s population will receive the vaccination by the completion of Phase 1, while the remaining 27% will be covered in Phase 2.
Phases can also overlap, and in each phase the oldest residents are given first priority, according to the department.
“We remain fully committed to ensuring a robust and orderly implementation of our vaccination program,” said Dr. State health director Libby Char in a press release. “Our plan prioritizes the vaccine for those who come in direct contact with the virus and for those who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 infections, disability or death. Its safe and proper introduction ensures that we are working efficiently to minimize dosage waste and increase patient safety. “
Some hospitals are now preparing to provide COVID-19 vaccines to their patients.
Kaiser Permanente, in coordination with the Health Department, is currently vaccinating its health care workers who will receive their second shots of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as independent health care workers who may not be required to be members.
Dionicia Lagapa, director of clinical operations at Kaiser, said preparations are underway to inform those in the Phase 1-B category of the vaccine’s availability next week, with a scheduled launch date on Jan. 18.
She said Kaiser will use an e-ticket or e-visit system for its members who can schedule appointments online, with other options for those without internet access. During the pandemic, many members, including Kupuna, became familiar with online services and telehealth options.
Andrea Eshelman, assistant director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said educators and school workers in Kauai are expecting a vaccination as early as Monday due to the additional availability on Garden Island.
For teachers on other islands, the expected start date is in late January or early February as part of Phase 1-B. More than 40,000 are slated to be vaccinated, she said.
The Kauai District Health Department announced that more than 3,000 people on the Garden Isle had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that local hospitals would announce detailed plans on Monday for people aged 75 and over.
After the vaccines were offered to educators and childcare workers on Monday, Kauai county officials said the vaccine will be available to key workers in food and agriculture, manufacturing, grocery stores and the postal service later this month.
Governor David Ige said Friday on Spotlight Hawaii that he believed the vaccine rollout had gone smoothly so far.
“I think the vaccine rollout went very well here on the islands,” Ige said during the spotlight interview. “We would obviously like more vaccinations. We know there is a lot of fear and we want people to be vaccinated as soon as possible. “
Part of the challenge of the rollout is that the state is informed at short notice about the weekly quantities to be delivered. The state learns on Thursdays how much will be delivered the following Monday or Tuesday.
Lt. Governor Josh Green on Thursday urged residents to take a two-week break from social gatherings and said vaccinations were expected to spike in mid-January.
On Thursday, the state hit a record high for the new year with 322 new confirmed cases. It was the highest since mid-August, when the number rose to 355, and was attributed mainly to holiday gatherings. On Friday, the case count remained high at 264 infections with four additional deaths, bringing the state’s total since the pandemic started to 22,895 cases and 303 deaths.
COVID-19 vaccination schedule schedule
>> Phase 1-A: Health workers and residents of long-term care facilities
>> Phase 1-B: Kupuna 75 and key people on the front line
>> Phase 1-C: Kupuna 65 to 74; People aged 16 to 64 with high risk diseases, other key workers
>> Phase 2: All persons aged 16 and over are not in other categories
Source: Ministry of Health
>> Vaccine doses received: 91,700 nationwide (54,600 Pfizer-BioNTech, 37,100 Moderna)
>> Vaccinations nationwide: over 35,000
>> Another 17,550 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine have been ordered for delivery next week.
Source: Ministry of Health