Hawaii could open 1C category for vaccines by early April

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lt. Gov. Josh Green said on Thursday that 70- to 74-year-olds could start being vaccinated by Monday, March 15. He said, that is the current timeframe from the Department of Health (DOH).

He added that the 1C category could be open to people 65 and older by late March or early April, or two to three weeks after 70- to 74-year-olds are vaccinated.

Hawaii is now receiving about 50,000 vaccine doses every week and could get even more if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved by Friday, Feb. 26.

“We’re now hearing, we may get as much as 11,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson as soon as they’re approved,” Green said. “Which would be a big deal because it’s almost worth double. You only need one shot to fully vaccinate someone.”

Lt. Gov. Green said, there are a half-million residents who fall under the 1C category for being vaccinated.

He said, the state will open the category with people 65 and older. Green said, there are about 146,000 residents who are between 65 and 74 years of age and vaccinating that group could move quickly.

“Not all of them will insist on a vaccination, they won’t all want it and some already have been vaccinated because they might be in long-term care facilities or essential worker categories,” he said.

Green added that the state will not wait on people who are hesitant to get vaccinated once their time is open.

“We got to move forward for all society to be fair to everyone,” he said.   

Younger people with severe chronic disease, oxygen dependence and people on dialysis will be next after those 65 and older are vaccinated.

“And then we’ll move into the much larger categories of all of the businesses that are kind of the essential businesses but are 1C, for instance, the hospitality industry, we want to get them vaccinated because we’re going to start seeing more travelers here,” Green explained.

He said, more educators would be included in the earlier phase as well.

“I think we will definitely get to 600,000 by April 1, and I think we’ll get to 900,000 shots given by May 1,” he continued.

About 327,000 doses have been administered in Hawaii as of Thursday, Feb. 25.

Green said 86% of all the shots the state has received have been administered.

“So, we’re now seventh in the country, seventh best in the country for delivery of the vaccine,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration approved storing the Pfizer vaccine at standard freezer temperatures on Thursday, Feb. 25, which helps ease storage requirements and could make delivery of the Pfizer vaccine easier.

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