HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) director Dr. Libby Char said they are on track to make the vaccine available to every adult in Hawaii by early May, aligning with President Joe Biden’s vaccination directive.
Char said, she is optimistic and added that reaching the benchmark hinges on a consistent vaccine supply to Hawaii.
“We’re getting vaccines out there,” Char said. “I think we’re doing a good job and the pace is just going to start picking up faster and faster. And we’re going to get people vaccines sooner than they think.”
Char said, they should be able to reach the target date and open vaccinations up to the remaining adults in Hawaii.
“I think we’re on track if we get a steady supply of vaccines,” she explained. “I want to be cautiously optimistic because if I say we’re going to be able to do something, I want to make sure that we really can meet, that. So I’m not saying 100% yes, but I’m cautiously optimistic.”
She said, they will be opening more vaccination pods in rural destinations in the following weeks.
The DOH expects to receive 68,000 doses of Pfizer while Moderna doses are expected during the week of Monday, March 29, along with 8,400 doses of Johnson & Johnson.
CVS and Safeway started offering vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program For COVID-19 Vaccination, making vaccinations more accessible.
“We’re glad that a number of pharmacies are participating and we hope to blanket the state with these pharmacies to make it really easy for people,” she said.
Char estimates between 10,000 to 14,000 additional doses of the vaccine are being sent directly to participating pharmacies. She said, since the DOH is not handling the distribution, it is harder for them to track.
CVS Western Region Sr. Communications Consultant Monica Prinzing said in a statement:
“We report our COVID-19 vaccination data to the CDC, which the state of Hawaii can access. We also have weekly update meetings with the state to provide the status of our program. As of today, we are administering COVID-19 vaccinations at 28 select Longs Drugs locations across Hawaii, with four more sites going live on Sunday, March 28. As we receive more supply from the federal government, we will add more vaccine locations and appointments. We value our partnership with the state, and we will continue to communicate regularly to discuss any questions or concerns they may have.”Monica Prinzing, CVS Western Region Sr. Communications Consultant
Char is urging everyone, even after they’re vaccinated, not to let their guard down.
The UK and South African strains of COVID-19 have been identified in Hawaii. She said, some variants are more contagious and resistant to treatments.
“The way the variants occur is through mutations,” Char explained. “In order for mutations to happen, it means somebody got infected, it got into them and it was able to mutate and be passed on.”
She said, the key is to prevent the spread. The fewer people that get infected, the less opportunity the virus has to mutate.
Click here to view the DOH list of how to register for a vaccine.