Hawaii health officials prepare for third COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many of the vaccines in Hawaii were administered during the first few months of 2021. Health officials are now preparing for a possible influx of people wanting a booster shot come October.

The message is clear from federal health officials and the White House; Those who were fully vaccinated earliest will be among the first to get a booster.

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“Soon you will hear of booster shots for all of our health care workers, I think that will come next, likely from the CDC and the FDA,” COVID-19 healthcare liaison Lt. Gov. Josh Green said. “And following that, I believe we will just like we saw the ramp-up of the vaccination throughout our population, we’ll want to give boosters to the elderly and then everyone.”

Hawaii first administered the vaccine to healthcare workers, kupuna in care homes and people 75-years-old and above. Vaccinations then opened up to Hawaii first responders and younger populations.

Kaiser Permanente’s vaccine clinic lead Julia Gregory said plans are underway to make the third shot easily accessible to the community. Gregory, a healthcare worker, will be among the first who are eligible to get a booster shot.

Gregory said, “We are essential, we’re still here we’re continuing to give and continuing to serve, and we want to protect and we want to be protected, so we’re getting ready, too.”

People due for a booster will have to wait at least eight months from the date they took their second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The CDC said the vaccine’s protection from infection of the virus declines over time but continues to protect against severe illness.

“And this isn’t the kind of thing where we’re expecting a rush of people to get down there, it’s not the kind of thing that you need to get that booster dose right away at eight months or event eight and half months,” Depart of Health spokesperson Brooks Baehr said. “It’s just that’s when you can begin to get your booster dose.”

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The Hawaii Department of Health is working on a booster COVID vaccine guidance for its medical partners.

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