Vaccination efforts increasing within communities with lower turnout

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state is nearly reaching the halfway benchmark with 48% of residents fully vaccinated, but there are certain communities trailing behind.

At least 56% of the state’s population has gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The department of health spokesperson Brooks Baehr said they are focusing on increasing vaccinations within young adults.

“You’re going to see an new round of public service announcements begin on the air as soon as next week,” Baehr said. “Those will target young adults. It will give young adults the opportunity to ask physicians their questions about COVID-19 and have those questions answered.” 

The DOH also uses a race metric to keep track of the vaccination roll out. The Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander community was disproportionately hit by the virus, but only 18% of NHPI community are fully vaccinated.

The Papa Ola Lokahi Executive Director Sheri Daniels said there have been improvements in sharing vaccine information with Native Hawaiians, which has led to an increase in administered doses. She said it requires time and creative approaches to get more people on board.

“Thinking outside of the traditional box of public health and really doing community health, and what that truly looks like, for some of our NHPI communities,” Daniels said. “And it just takes a different approach, and be willing to do that and invest in that.”  

Daniels said putting in time to share information in their language and from a trusted member within the NHPI community is part of the investment.

At this point, Hawaii has more vaccine supply than demand.

“Our peek was 82,000 doses administered, that was back in early April,” Baehr said. “And since then, we’ve seen a gradual slowdown to where now we’re administering 40,000 to 50,000 vaccines a week.”  

At this pace, the state is likely to reach 2 million inoculations by summer.

The department of health said it is not too late to plan for a less distanced Fourth of July.

“Go in and get yourself a Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson shot right now, and you’ll be fully vaccinated for the Fourth of July rolls around,” Baehr said. “That means you can get together with vaccinated friends and family members and take off your mask.” 

More information on the state’s vaccine roll out, here.

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