HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite most of Hawaii being vaccinated against COVID-19 many people are still coming down with the virus and some people are testing positive twice.

The Hawaii Department of Health still recommends people getting vaccinated whether you have had COVID-19 or not. 

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Brooks Baehr with Hawaii Department of Health said COVID is still present in Hawaii and people can be infected more than once. 

“People can absolutely be infected with COVID-19 more than once,” said Baehr. “Prior infection gives a person some protection against COVID-19, but that protection wanes over time.”

He said early research shows the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are more successful than previous COVID-19 strains at evading the protection a person gets from prior infection or COVID-19 vaccines. 

“However, COVID-19 vaccines are still very effective in reducing a person’s risk of severe illness and hospitalization,” said Baehr.

The Department of Health encourages everyone six-months of age and older to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce their risk of severe illness. He said it’s especially important kupuna get their booster shots. 

“To date, about 60% of Hawaii residents 75 and older have not received a second booster shot and an estimated 75% of residents 50 and older have not received their second booster shot,” said Baehr.

He said people aged 50 and older account for almost 90% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Hawaii. About one-third of the deaths have been people aged 80 and older.

“Proper mask wearing will also help prevent reinfection,” said Baehr. “We continue to record hundreds of new COVID-19 cases every day.”

Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines and boosters

Wearing a well-fitting mask indoors and outdoors in crowded places will greatly reduce the chance of infection.