DOH says general population could get vaccinated by summer


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Advisers for the FDA on Thursday recommended the agency grant emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine. This will bring the state one step closer to moving forward with its vaccination plan. Officials say the state is expecting to receive nearly 82,000 doses, and that’s just for the first dose, by the end of the month.

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These doses will go to people in phase one which is divided into groups:
-essential healthcare workers
-staff and residents in long term care facilities
-first responders and essential workers

“We expect to finish phase one probably by February,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, Director of the Health Department. “We expect that by summer, we will be well into vaccinating the general population, perhaps sooner than that.”

Officials say correctional officers and inmates will also be covered under phase one.

“Some people ask why are prisoners? They make judgments, this and that,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “So really the point is it’s not about prisoners. It’s about people who live in spaces where they can’t prevent spread.”

We’re told Pfizer has developed cold storage containers to distribute the vaccines.

“It will be shipped across the country with dry ice into each destination to which it is shipped. There is also a refill of the dry ice. So as soon as it arrives in that location, it is repacked with that next refill. That is good for five days,” said President and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii Hilton Raethel.

COVID vaccinations will not be mandatory but officials are hoping for a large turnout when doses become available.

“As has been said before, the science is when we get to about 70% or so of the community being vaccinated, then we develop herd immunity which will help us tremendously in the fight against COVID-19,” said Gov. David Ige.

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