Push for expanded COVID boosters eligibility in Hawaii comes after New York decision
HONOLULU (KHON2) – New York City allows anyone aged 18 and over to receive their COVID-19 booster until they have six months before they are fully immunized with an mRNA vaccine, or two months of a Johnson and Johnson shoot.
NYC joins the states of California, Colorado and New Mexico with the change in requirements.
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Currently in Hawaii, you are eligible for a recall if:
- You are 65 years of age or older
- You have underlying health problems
- You live in a long-term care facility
- You live or work in a high risk situation
Hawaii’s COVID liaison says the requirements are too confusing and is now pushing for change to happen on the islands.
âPeople ask me all day, day and night. Am I eligible for a recall? Said Lieutenant Governor Green. âThe reality is that everyone knows they are 65 or older. Okay, but after that they got asthma. They have lung disease. They have high blood pressure or diabetes. They don’t know if they have enough chronic illnesses to warrant a recall and then they live in a kind of, I guess, limbo because their job can be risky sometimes and not other times, â
Hawaii was 40% fully immunized six months ago, putting an estimated 560,000 people six months away from their second vaccine.
So far, 133,557 people have had their recall in Hawaii. That’s only 24% of those eligible if the state followed in New York City’s footsteps.
“We should do it, and I will make that recommendation to the director of health,” said Lt. Gov. Green. âIt’s important to us because we were one of the states that had the first wave of vaccinations, which means a lot of our people are six months away. “
Lt. Gov. Green attributes the first vaccination efforts to the state with the second-lowest COVID death rate in the country. He doesn’t see that changing even as outbreaks appear on the mainland, where cases have increased 17.7% in the past week.
âThe reasons we shouldn’t see a big increase is because our positivity rate has fallen to 1.5%,â Lt. Gov. Green said. “We have fallen to 1,300 active cases statewide out of 1.4 million [people], and nearly 90% of our citizens have at least one injection. So as long as we’re smart and not really reckless during the holidays, we won’t see a big increase. “
He still recommends getting the booster.
âBetter get the booster now if you’re eligible,â Lt. Gov. Green said.
The Hawaii Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
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Lieutenant Governor Green expects booster antibody data in about five months.