HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Johnson & Johnson vaccine returned to Hawaii on Thursday.
Hundreds of people showed up at the vaccination clinic at Windward Community College.
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The vaccine was halted for nearly two weeks as the federal government investigated rare blood clots associated with the vaccine.
Many residents said they felt the risk was low and wanted to be done with the vaccine process sooner rather than showing up a few weeks later for their second dose.
“I didn’t want to come and do it twice, and the other one is 29 days in between, and I didn’t want to wait that long, and I need to travel for work, and I just wanted to hurry up and get it done,” said Oahu resident Dave Stone.
On Kauai, an uptick in COVID-19 cases has brought more people in to get vaccinated.
The Kauai District Health office reported 13 new cases on Thursday, its highest daily number and active cases since the pandemic began.
“Forty-seven active cases is more than we ever had since start of pandemic over a year ago,” explained Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai District Health Officer. “Forty-five are Kauai residents and two are visitors, 32 were locally acquired and not linked to travel, so this tells us the virus is circulating widely in our community, and this is the first time we’ve seen this on Kauai.”
According to Dr. Berreman, 40 of the current cases were not vaccinated, four were fully vaccinated of which two had no symptoms, and two of the vaccinated COVID-19-positive cases had mild symptoms. Two of the cases had received at least one shot, and the last case is unknown.
Dr. Berreman also said it’s important to highlight the need for people to stay home if they do not feel well.
“Several of our cases the past weeks have attended work, school and social events while ill. We can’t stress enough staying home if sick,” she said.
Kauai has been in the most unrestrictive tier, Tier 4, but now there is talk of taking a step back.
“Ultimately, we wouldn’t want to do that, but if you are a coach, or if you are a leader of a youth group, right now would probably be a good time to have a conversation with other coaches and parents to see whether it makes sense for you to start considering postponing practices or being more careful out on the field,” said Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami.
He said it doesn’t mean coaches should start cancelling, but residents should be aware and consider canceling any large gatherings or event this weekend, so case numbers have the chance to drop.
Kawakami said he went to a vaccine clinic on Thursday and thanked people for coming in to get vaccinated.
“I tell them whether you realize it or not, you getting a vaccine protects our children, the ones that cannot get a vaccine, you’re providing a layer of protection,” he said.
Even with low vaccine urgency, Lt. Goveror Josh Green said he’s happy with the state’s progress.
“The way I look at this is we’re now in the third quartile of the vaccine process. We’re going to do 2 million shots total it looks like about for our state to get to herd immunity,” he said. “As we go forward, there’s just fewer and fewer people that remain unvaccinated.”
Green said the next push will be 12- to 15-year-olds, once vaccines are approved for that age, which he believes will be soon.
Appointments can be made on this page that the Department of Health (DOH) set up for the WCC clinic.
The J&J vaccine will also be available at WCC on May 4, May 6, and May 11 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Walk-ins will also be accepted every Tuesday and Thursday.
Information on these vaccines for the rest of the state will be announced by DOH in the coming days.
“The pause and thorough safety review demonstrates the commitment we all share in ensuring vaccine safety,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We are excited Johnson & Johnson will again play an important role in the fight against COVID-19.”
Appointments for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available in all counties and can be made on the DOH website.