HONOLULU (KHON2) — New York City is allowing anybody 18-and-older to get their COVID-19 booster shot as long as they’re six months out from being fully vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine, or two months from a Johnson and Johnson shot.
NYC joins the states of California, Colorado, and New Mexico with the change in requirements.
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Currently, in Hawaii you are eligible for a booster shot if:
- You’re 65 or older
- You have underlying health conditions
- You live in a long-term care facility
- You live or work in a high risk situation
Hawaii’s COVID liaison says the requirements are too confusing and is now pushing for the change to come to the islands.
“People ask me all day long day and night. Am I eligible for a booster?” Lt. Gov Green said. “The reality is everyone knows they’re 65 or older. Okay, but after that, they have asthma. They’ve got lung disease. They’ve got hypertension or diabetes. They don’t know whether they have enough chronic disease to justify a booster and then they’re living in some kind of, I guess limbo because their job may be risky sometimes and not other times,”
Hawaii was 40% fully vaccinated six months ago, which puts about 560,000 people six months out from their second shot.
So far, 133,557 people have had their boosters in Hawaii. That is just 24% of who would be eligible if the state followed in New York City’s footsteps.
“We should do that, and I’ll be making that recommendation to the Director of Health,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “It’s important for us because we were one of the states that had the earliest surge of vaccinations, which means a lot of our people are six months out,”
Lt. Gov. Green credits the early vaccination efforts for the state having the second-lowest COVID death rate in the nation. He doesn’t see that changing even as surges pop up on the continent, where cases have risen 17.7% in the past week.
“The reasons we should not see a large surge is because our positivity rate is down to 1.5%,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “We’re down to 1,300 active cases statewide out of 1.4 million [people], and almost 90% of our citizens have at least one shot. So as long as we’re smart and not really reckless over the holidays, we will not see a big surge.”
He still recommends getting the booster.
“Better to get the booster shot now if you’re eligible,” Lt. Gov. Green said.
The Hawaii Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
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Lt. Gov. Green anticipates data on booster antibodies in about five months.