The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is asking its District Health Offices on the neighbor islands to expand vaccine eligibility as needed to ensure all available vaccination slots are filled.
Every island has its own unique characteristics including population, population density, healthcare resources and enthusiasm for the COVID-19 vaccine. With more vaccine coming into Hawai‘i this week than any previous week, DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char believes the time is right to give the neighbor islands more say in how they administer vaccinations.
“The state is getting more than 81,000 vaccine doses this week and the federal government is distributing thousands more to Longs Drugs and Safeway,” Char said. “The combined allocation to Hawai‘i this week tops 120,000 doses. We want those doses in the correct arms as quickly as possible and believe the neighbor islands are situated to get that done.”
The DOH will coordinate the designation of who is eligible in each county and continue to determine vaccine eligibility on O‘ahu. To date, vaccines on O‘ahu are reserved for those in phase 1a and 1b of the state’s vaccination program as well as those age 60 and older, those being treated with oxygen for severe respiratory conditions, those on dialysis, chemotherapy or other infusion therapy, as well as essential workers at hotels, restaurants and bars.
Vaccine eligibility on O‘ahu will expand on April 5 to include essential workers in construction, banking and finance, communications, media, retail, information technology, clergy, and transportation and logistics.
Eligibility decisions are based on current and projected vaccination numbers, appointment availability and most importantly the amount of vaccine allocated and available.