State plans to vaccinate 600,000 people by the summer


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state is about to ramp up its vaccination plan as considerably more doses start coming in within the next few months. Officials say, about 600,000 people could get both doses of the vaccine in the summer.

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The state has only received almost 83,000 doses as of Tuesday, Jan. 5, but Lt. Gov. Josh Green expects a big jump in the number of doses coming in from the federal government, starting next week.

“Our projection based on what we’ve heard is about 150,00 doses each month, we’ll just continue to ramp up and try to use all of those,” said Green.

The general timeline for vaccinations has people 75 years and older, first responders, teachers, and corrections officers currently in the process of getting vaccinated. From March to May, those 65 to 74 years old, 16 and older with underlying conditions and other essential workers will get their shots. The goal is to get to the general population in the summer.

The state says, more details will be released next week on how to sign up, but the plan is to have people make an appointment online or by phone to avoid massive crowds in one site.

“We’ve been doing online registration for some of the other pods and it’s been working pretty smoothly. So my expectations are high for this for the kupuna,” said Dr. Libby Char, Hawaii Department of Health director.

Friends and family are asked to help the elderly to navigate challenges with going online. The state has yet to announce where these vaccinations will take place, but solutions are in the works to try to avoid long lines and parking problems.

“We will have a large center but we’ll probably have multiple pods inside of it. So you might have to go to A or B or C or some such breakdown. It won’t just be one giant line down the road, but these are challenges,” said Green.

Other challenges include getting enough people to take the vaccine. The goal is to get 75-85% of the population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

“I’m confident that we’ll get a good sector of our population vaccinated. I hope people will want to be vaccinated because this really is the opportunity to change the trajectory of this entire disease in this pandemic,” said Char.

“I think that 80 percent of the population will ultimately get the vaccine. That’s 80% of 1.4 million, that’s over a million people,” said Green.

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