HONOLULU (KHON2) — In-person food safety inspections were put on hold on Monday, Feb. 8, because the head of the Food Safety Branch wanted his staff to be vaccinated. KHON2 learned on Tuesday, Feb 9, workers have been told they will be scheduled to receive their vaccinations.
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Peter Oshiro tells KHON2 he is still not sending his staff out until after they get their second shots. Oshiro said, he has been asking for a schedule for over one month.
“Finally, I guess after shedding light on the situation, at 1:40 p.m. this afternoon, it looks like my whole staff finally got a notice from the Department that they’re scheduled to receive their vaccinations. So that’s a really good thing,” said Oshiro.
Oshrio says their counterparts on other islands have already been vaccinated.
“But their volume of contact is less than, they do the same difficult work that we do,” said Oshiro. “But if you look at a true risk assessment, just the sheer volume of facilities that my people inspect, you know, thousands a year or so, so the contact is so high.”
KHON2 checked with the Honolulu Liquor Commission that also sends investigators out into the field and a spokeswoman said:
“All front line essential City employees of the Honolulu Liquor Commission have been offered the vaccine. Due to privacy issues, we cannot comment any further.”
She says it was up to the employee to schedule an appointment.
The Health Department tells KHON2 it is unlikely people with similar positions will be vaccinated at the same time. For example, some teachers have been vaccinated and others are still waiting but that does not mean one is valued over the other. There are about 230,000 people in Phase 1B and demand is greater than supply.
Food Safety Branch staff should be getting their first dose starting the week of Monday, Feb. 8, followed by their second dose in a month. KHON2 will follow up and find out when in-person inspections resume.