HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii’s inter-island travel vaccination program has begun.
The program launch will allow people who received their vaccination shots in the state of Hawaii to skip testing and quarantine rules for inter-island travel, Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday.
Officials have easy access to government vaccination records that can be quickly reviewed, so only those who have been fully vaccinated in clinics on the islands can participate. The governor hopes to open the program to out-of-state and trans-Pacific travelers later this year.
“We don’t have a set schedule for the Trans-Pacific. The challenge is verification – vaccination in other states, ”said Governor David Ige. “We have worked with several other private sector partners to get access to the state vaccination protocols, and we believe this would help them get vaccination protocols in other states as well.”
Individuals participating in the program must be more than two weeks away from their final COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials report that approximately 40% of the Hawaiian population is fully vaccinated.
Anyone flying into the state has yet to show a negative COVID-19 test to bypass a 10-day quarantine rule.
Travelers participating in the vaccination record program can upload their information to the state’s Safe Travels website. This platform is currently reviewing COVID-19 test results for all travelers. They can also take their vaccination card to the airport if they have problems or cannot access the website.
Anyone caught with a fake vaccination card will face hefty fines, jail sentences, or both.
The program launches as some residents say the state should relax other coronavirus restrictions, but Ige is cautious.
“The number of cases we see continues to be higher than we’d like, and each case now offers the possibility for the virus to mutate and change,” Ige said.
The epidemiologist Dr. DeWolfe Miller, who worked with the state on its coronavirus response, agrees.
“If you don’t go on that last little extra to root it out and eradicate it, that little brush fire can get out of hand in a second,” Miller told Hawaii News Now.