Hawaii Health Systems Corporation receive concern over delay to implement COVID vaccine mandate


A healthcare worker fills a syringe with Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a community vaccination event in a predominately Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, August 11, 2021. – All teachers in California will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to weekly virus tests, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on August 11, as authorities grapple with exploding infection rates. The number of people testing positive for the disease has surged in recent weeks, with the highly infectious Delta variant blamed for the bulk of new cases. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC) received a letter expressing concern and requesting clarification regarding their decision to wait until the COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to implement the vaccine mandate.

The letter was sent on Thursday, Aug. 19, and was addressed to Linda Rosen, HHSC’s President and CEO.

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The joint letter was sent by Senate Health Committee Chair Jarrett Keohokalole, Senate Human Services Committee Chair Joy San Buenaventura and House Health, Human Services and Homelessness Chair Ryan Yamane.

In the letter, they asked for an explanation of why the delay to execute the vaccine mandate was the best option, especially during a time where coronavirus cases are rising across Hawaii.

On Thursday, Aug. 5, Gov. David Ige announced a COVID-19 vaccination mandate policy where all state and county works must get vaccinated by Monday, Aug. 16, or get tested weekly.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

“Although several media reports indicate that an approval is pending, the FDA has taken no official action and the federal government has instead announced their own employee vaccine mandate,” they wrote in the letter. “Considering the sweeping change in policy taking place among so many large organizations — and the disturbing rise in cases locally — the public deserves to know what you see that so many of our public health and medical experts do not.”

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