Big Island Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Vaccines Soon to be Offered to Kūpuna 70 Years Old and Older

March 3, 2021, 3:57 PM HST
* Updated March 3, 4:03 PM
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The state is expanding the pool of those eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations by offering shots to kūpuna age 70 and older beginning Monday, March 8.

“We are excited to be ahead of schedule and pleased that we can now provide another layer of protection to this vulnerable population,” said Elizabeth Char, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health.

Up to this point, vaccines have been reserved for health care workers, those in long-term care facilities, frontline essential workers and kūpuna 75 and older.

“We have vaccinated enough people in those groups that we are able to open eligibility to everyone 70 and above. We will closely monitor how quickly vaccines are used and may open to people age 65 and up and those in phase 1c in a couple of weeks,” Char said.

Weekly vaccine allotments to Hawai‘i have increased from about 40,000 doses a month ago to this week’s allotment of more than 67,000 doses. This increase and the recent authorization allowing use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine accelerates Hawai‘i’s vaccination schedule.

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Hawai‘i received its first shipment of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine today, March 3.

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The DOH accepted delivery of 5,900 doses on O‘ahu. The remaining 6,000 doses are being distributed evenly between Hawai‘i Island, Maui and Kaua‘i with each county receiving 2,000 doses.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death. Its single-shot regimen eliminates the need for patients to return for a second dose and it can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for months.

DOH is inviting educators from DOE to be vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson vaccine this Friday as part of our continuing effort across the state.

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In the coming days, DOH will announce the dates and locations where additional populations will have access to Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“We must still wait our turn as our elders and frontline essential workers continue to be vaccinated, but we are thrilled others in our community will soon have access to these life-saving vaccines,” Char concluded.

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