By: Jeff Todashi
On April 19, 2021, Oahu reached Phase 2 of its Coronavirus vaccination program. This means that all of Hawaii residents age 16 and older are now eligible for the Coronavirus vaccine. Hawaii County, Maui County, and Kauai County advanced to Phase 2 in earlier in April. Teens 16 and 17 years old are reminded to seek appointments for Pfizer vaccines. Pfizer has Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for people age 16 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are reserved for people 18 and above. Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been paused for about one and half weeks due to blood clots.
On April 23, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that the Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus vaccine should be used in the United States again. This word comes after the CDC advised a pause in inoculations while they investigated six cases of a rare blood clotting condition in women who received the vaccine. The CDC panel decided that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the small risk of blood clotting. Federal health officials are expected to quickly follow their recommendation and advise states to lift the pause on inoculations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC has suggested adding a warning label to the vaccine stating that “most cases” of the condition, which they’re calling thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TSS, have been in women between the ages of 18 and 49. Anyone who receives the vaccine will be warned to look out for symptoms like blurred vision, fainting, seizure and coma that could indicate they have TSS.
The Hawaii Coronavirus vaccine summary said that 1,118,905 vaccine doses have been administered through state and federal distribution programs as of today. More than 36 percent of Hawaii’s population has received at least one dose through the state vaccine system, but that figure does not include those vaccinated through federal programs. Hawaii Department of Health officials today reported one new Coronavirus-related death and 94 additional infections statewide, bringing the state’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 477 fatalities and 31,751 cases.
The total number of Coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 24,398 on Oahu; 3,305 on Maui; 2,664 in Hawaii County; 205 on Kauai; 111 on Lanai; and 37 on Molokai. There are also 1,031 Hawaii residents who were diagnosed outside of the state. Hawaii has the second lowest rate in the United States after Wyoming.
Health officials also said today that of the state’s total infection count, 1,140 cases were considered to be active. By island, Oahu has 779 active cases, Maui has 229, the Big Island has 103, Kauai has six, Molokai has three, and Lanai has none. According to the latest information, a total of 45 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of this morning, with five in intensive care units, and two on ventilators.
Oahu moved into the less-restrictive Tier 3 of the city’s four-tier economic recovery plan on February 25, 2021 after being in Tier 2 since October 22, 2021. Tier 3 permits social and outdoor recreational gatherings of up to 10 people, and restaurants to seat 10 people at a table.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on March 11, 2021 announced modifications to Tier 3, including allowing bars to reopen under the same conditions as restaurants and extending the curfew until midnight. Honolulu will remain in Tier 3 of the city’s Coronavirus reopening framework until at least May 5, 2021.
We need to achieve between 70-85 percent vaccinations of Hawaii’s population to achieve state herd immunity enable opening fully back up. At 36 percent, we have a way to go yet. CDC is reporting the U.S. death toll trending down but still 570,000 Americans have died…170,000 of these just in the past 90 days. We cannot rest easy. CDC is already looking at annual Coronavirus boosters and is working with vaccine manufacturers moving forward. Vaccines are also reportedly going to be approved for ages 12 and up by mid-summer. Pfizer has already requested approval for 12 years and above release. Vaccinating children 12 years and older may play into Hawaii schools fully reopening in the Fall 2021.