Gov. Ige hopes to ease restrictions for vaccinated travelers by the end of summer

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige is pleased with Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, but he wants more doses from the federal government.

Ige said, the state can handle administering many more doses than it is currently being given.

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“Right now, we’re getting 40,000 to 50,000 doses a week. We could easily scale to 80,000 or more because so many people are involved with the vaccinations,” Ige said.

Ige said, the biggest change and help has been the Biden administration giving the state a three-week shipment notice.

“We were going on a week by week basis. We did not know how much we would receive, and if you recall in early days, we expected and scheduled people and when we didn’t get it. It really becomes disruptive and confusing. So we got into the routine of not scheduling people, until we have vaccines in hand,” Ige said.

Ige said, the three-week notice has helped significantly because Hawaii is now able to plan ahead.

“We schedule out with the 100 different facilities that are administering [the vaccines]. We can let them know approximately how much they would get each week so they can begin to schedule and administer the vaccines,” he explained.

Ige said, the state is inching closer to allowing vaccinated people to travel freely but that he is not yet going to lift any restrictions.

“We actually had a call with the White House this morning and I was able to talk directly with Dr. Walensky and the CDC, and she said that they are working on that,” Ige said. “They are making, and trying to assure the science of whether someone who is vaccinated can continue to carry the virus and infect others,” he said.

Ige said, the CDC is currently recommending the Safe Travels Program remain in place as it is. As soon as the science is proven, however, Ige said the state will be ready to lift restrictions.

“We will be prepared to implement, recognizing the vaccine status of an individual relatively shortly after the CDC issues those specific guidance,” Ige said.

The governor added that he believes a program for vaccinated travelers to travel quarantine and pre-travel test-free will be able to be in place by the end of summer.

“I’m hopeful that by the end of the summer we can get back to the new normal,” Ige said. “Recovery will be hard and it will take time.”

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