HONOLULU (KHON2) — New data released on Wednesday showed promising numbers for Hawaii’s path to reaching herd immunity: 55% of residents have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Kauai leads the counties with 56% of residents partially vaccinated; Big Island and Maui with 52%; and Honolulu with 50%.
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The state’s report follows last week’s new federal guidance on mask wearing for fully vaccinated people. Hawaii will continue to keep its mask mandate for now.
“Because of the pandemic fatigue and because, you know, you got a bunch of visitors who are not necessarily following all the guidelines and because our own residents are just suffering from this pandemic fatigue, the vaccinations have really become our last line of defense,” said Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel.
Broken down by age, the state report shows that 77% of its most vulnerable kupuna — those 75 and older — have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations. According to the state, 1.4 million doses have been administered, which Raethel says is good.
“If you look at the numbers to get to a 70% herd immunity, which is the low end because a lot of the experts are now saying we should be maybe up in the 80% to 85%,” said Raethel. “To get to that 70% threshold for everyone 12 and above, we still need to give out about another 200,000 doses.”
Raethel says he doesn’t see the vaccination effort ending anytime soon.
“We need to continue to protect ourselves,” he said. “You know, it’s not much longer. Another couple of months, hopefully, where we’ll reach some of these thresholds where we really can relax those standards. We’re still going to be pushing vaccinations for a long time yet because, you know, children 11 are under not even eligible yet.”