HONOLULU (KHON2) — Governor David Ige confirmed to KHON2 that a COVID booster shot requirement will soon be added to the Safe Travels program.
“I don’t have a specific date to let you know at this point, but we do expect to be able to announce that in the next few days,” Governor Ige said.
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The requirement would mean travelers to the State of Hawaii would need to have their COVID booster shot in order to by-pass quarantine. The other option for folks not vaccinated or who haven’t gotten their booster would be to get a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before departure.
KHON2 asked the Governor why the requirement hasn’t yet been implemented. He responded saying it’s a logistics issue with the Safe Travel’s website.
“It is an issue about updating the Safe travels platform and being able to accept the third vaccination,” Ige explained.
The Governor said the website is being updated now so that it can automatically approve boosters. He wants to avoid bottlenecks at Hawaii’s airport screening stations.
“Just like you were required to enter the information, you know, your name, the location of vaccination and date and which vaccine was administered, it would probably be a similar function for the third shot,” Ige said about how the updated website would work.
Currently, the CDC recommends getting a booster 5 months after your last Moderna or Pfizer dose.
Governor Ige said his team is still working on ironing out the details of how the booster shot requirement would work and be implemented into the Safe Travels program.
“We know that there needs to be some grace period,” he said when asked what folks who have a trip coming up, but aren’t yet able to get the booster should do.
Receiving a negative COVID test is still another option to by-pass quarantine for unvaccinated folks and those who do not get a booster shot, Ige said.
The Governor said adding the booster requirement is part of his plan for full economic recovery, and another piece of that plan is to bring back international visitors.
“We continue to have dialogue with Japan, with South Korea, with Canada, with Australia,” Ige said. “We are working really hard to get that restarted again and I do expect that before the end of the year, international travel will be back to normal.”
The pandemic highlighted Hawaii’s need for more healthcare workers, according to Ige. He hopes expanding a paid internship program for high schoolers and college students will help.
“They have an opportunity to work with professionals and get an idea of what the jobs might be, so that they can be inspired to pursue them,” he stated.
Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines, boosters and Safe Travels information
Ige also wants to create more jobs for recent nursing school graduates.
“We want to work together to create ways for recent nursing school graduates to have internships or other kinds of programs so that they can get the experience that our hospitals are looking for,” Governor Ige said.