COVID vaccine may arrive in Hawaii within weeks


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Coronavirus vaccines could arrive in Hawaii before the end of 2020, but officials do not know which vaccine the islands will receive or how many doses will be delivered.

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Friday, Dec. 4 marks the deadline for states to order the COVID-19 vaccine. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said they put in a sizable order with Pfizer and they plan to order additional vaccines as long as they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We’ve ordered 121,000 vaccine doses. We don’t know what we will get ultimately, in the initial shipment,” Green explained.

Green said, if all goes well the shipment could arrive by the end of December.

“On the 10th of December, the FDA is going to meet and discuss the Pfizer application for their, what’s called, an emergency emergency use authorization,” Green said. “If that happens, and they approve it the following week, we would expect shipment.”

Pfizer’s vaccine is a two-dose regimen, according to Green, and the request is for the first dose.

He said they are aware a lot of people want to be vaccinated, but he is not sure if they will get the full amount they requested.

“We expect to need at least 35 to 40,000 for our essential health care workers, and all of the people around them,” Green said.

Green said those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities would also be included in the first group to be vaccinated.

“We’ve requested Pfizer, we’re also going to request Moderna, we’re going to request all of them as long as they’ve been demonstrated to be safe and effective,” Green said. “We won’t turn our nose up at any of them. Because I think that the more people that get vaccinated, and quickly, the better.”

Green said Hawaii residents have done a good job wearing masks and social distancing — keeping COVID numbers low — but he also warned that an outbreak could start if the public lets their guard down

Green said other countries like Great Britain already started vaccinations with no significant side effects so far, but he said it is still important to wait for FDA approval and to see the data from Pfizer.

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