Hawaii orders less coronavirus vaccine than allotted for the first time


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State of Hawaii has not ordered all the vaccine that is available for the first time.

Health officials say they already have enough doses on hand and the demand for them has slowed.

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Hawaii is expecting to receive about 64,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses over the week of Monday, May 3. Officials could have ordered more but left about 14,000 vaccines on the table, according the Department of Health (DOH).

“For months, we talked about the fact that supply did not quite meet demand. We had way more people in Hawaii who were clamoring to get the vaccine,” said Brooks Baehr of the DOH. “Now we’re kind of creeping down the other side, where demand is not as great as supply.”

This comes as more walk-in options for the vaccine become available. Walmart and Sam’s Club just announced customers can now walk up and get their shot at 11 of their pharmacies in Hawaii.

“I think it’s wonderful. I come here for my flu shots and I’ve already got my immunizations but certainly if I hadn’t then I would be here getting them,” said Ala Moana area resident Tom Barrett.

“It’s about removing those barriers, and one of those barriers has been technological. Do I have to go online, do I have to make this appointment online? No, you don’t have to anymore,” said Baehr.

The DOH says about 51% of the people who live in Hawaii have received at least one dose as of Tuesday, May 4, but the variants make it hard to determine what percentage is needed to reach herd immunity.

“We can’t set a percentage right now on herd immunity, because we don’t know what the future holds with the variants. And so we’ve just got to monitor it. Our goal again is to continue to vaccinate as many people as we possibly can,” said Baehr.

“When people get vaccinated in large groups then their case counts drop off. That’s why come summer, we hope to see at least an approximation of herd immunity across the country. We may not get it in all of the states on the mainland but we have an excellent shot at getting to herd immunity for Hawaii,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

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