Vaccine requirement for Hawaii government workers being considered

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii is not yet requiring its government workers to be fully vaccinated but the governor and one county mayor said they are considering a vaccine mandate for its employees.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office said he is exploring the possibility of requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for city employees.

A spokesperson for Blangiardi’s office, in statement said, a vaccine requirement is being considered as the Delta variant continues to spread in the community.

Federal, state, and city governments are looking into the options of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for their workforces, and/or mandating weekly COVID-19 testing. As the President, governors of other states, and mayors of many other cities are exploring aggressive and proactive measures to stop the spread of highly contagious Delta variant, Mayor Blangiardi is also exploring this option for all City employees. Relevant stakeholders including the public unions and health care providers, and the Department of Health, will be engaged in this conversation.

As for the police officers union, its president Malcolm Lutu said he would not support such mandates for his members.

“Not everybody believes in the vaccine, as we see in the general public,” Lutu said. “We would have to stand by our members and basically not make it mandatory even though it would be a good thing. We would have to fight for their workers rights.”

Discussions of whether medical workers should be vaccinated are also on going.

Maui Memorial Medical Center became one the first hospital in the state to require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for its visitors.

Maui Memorial Medical Center CEO Michael Rembis said it is likely more restrictive measures will be taken this week.

Rembis said, “This policy is likely to change, as we see the prevalence going up in the state and in Maui. It’s very likely we will revert back to our policy of no visitation with a couple of exceptions.”

The Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel said hospitals across the state are also reconsidering its visitor’s guidelines.

Raethel said, “It’s the only facility right now that’s taken this particular stance but all of our hospitals are working on what they need to do and are revisiting their visitation policies.”  

Governor David Ige said he is considering a vaccine mandate for jail and correctional facility employees where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred.

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