COVID vaccination rates rise as more mandates take effect in Hawaii


HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has been a month since the vaccine mandate went into effect for state and county workers. Officials said they are seeing a rise in vaccination rates. It is an encouraging sign that could bring down the daily number of COVID cases.

Queen’s Health Systems said it has seen a 20% increase in the vaccination rate in the past month. Officials said the vaccine mandate for public workers is one contributing factor. Vaccine hesitancy also seemed to be waning after the number of daily cases reached over a thousand.

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“We’re glad that the numbers seem to be coming down. We’ve heard a lot of people come in and when we ask them why are they getting vaccinated at this point, they said that the numbers going up is concerning,” said Dr. Julius Pham, Queen’s Chief Patient Safety Officer.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) also reported more coronavirus vaccinations statewide. More than 23,000 shots were given in the week of Aug. 20 — which has, for the most part, increased steadily with more than 40,000 in the week of Aug. 17. The DOH said it had not reached the 40,000 mark since June.

“Whether the employment mandates have driven people into vaccination centers, whatever the reason, we are seeing a whole bunch of people go in and get themselves vaccinated. And we’d like to thank each and every one of them because they are now part of the solution,” said Brooks Baehr, DOH spokesperson.

Queen’s said it is also encouraging that the vaccination numbers are going up in the mobile clinics because that is where they are needed the most.

“Our mobile efforts are concentrated on the native Hawaiian population, the Pacific Islander, the Filipino population. The data is showing that those are populations are in fact higher,” said Pham.

With more employers requiring workers to get vaccinated and vaccine passports needed to get into bars and restaurants, health officials are hoped that the COVID spread in Hawaii will once again start moving in the right direction.

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“As a healthcare system, we were hurting and to see the numbers now down in the triple digits as opposed to 1000. In the 500-600 gives us a lot of relief. We’re seeing that relief in the hospital,” said Pham.

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