HONOLULU (KHON2) — Starting Monday, March 8, more of Hawaii’s kupuna will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. There are just over 60,000 people in the state between the ages of 70 and 74, which is set to begin vaccinations.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green told KHON2 that younger groups won’t be far behind, as 86,000 residents are between the ages of 65 and 69 and can expect to be vaccinated shortly after.
“In 1 to 2 weeks we should be able to, with our capacity, vaccinate every kupuna 70 to 74 who would like to be vaccinated,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “We won’t wait until the second shot. We’ll move to the 65 to 69 year olds after we’ve gotten through this first batch of people between 70 and 74. Should really take about two weeks. So two weeks to take care of our 70 to 74 year olds and then I expect the director of health will recommend or ask us to do 65 to 69, which I’m pushing for already.”
The idea is to get both groups done by April 1, so that the rest of group 1C can begin. That includes essential workers and those with pre-existing conditions.
“April, we’ll move aggressively into the 1C category and then at this rate May we will begin to open to the large population of people who are just younger and healthy,” Lt. Gov. Green said.
The Department of Health is also targeting high-risk areas, like the Pacific Islander community, which has been hit particularly hard by the virus.
“There are a lot of people who are in the non-Hawaiian Pacific Islander community who we’ve reached out to because there were really high numbers amongst those individuals,” Lt. Gov. Green said.
So far the vaccine efforts in Hawaii have resulted in over 400,000 shots administered. Lt. Gov. Green thinks that has taken a big bite out of COVID-19’s impact on hospitals.
“Just two weeks ago we were at 38 in the hospital and two months ago we were at like 80. You can see those numbers coming way down because of the vaccination program,” Green said.