Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Hawai´i Offers Vaccination Incentives to All Who Receive Shot

By Max Dible
June 4, 2021, 4:28 PM HST
* Updated June 4, 4:31 PM
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Big Island Now.

More than half of Hawai´i’s population has been vaccinated against COVID-19 but with demand for inoculation dwindling drastically in recent weeks, the state has now moved to incentivize residents to receive the shots.

Governor David Ige on Friday unveiled the Hawai´i Got Vaccinated website, where anyone may register for an array of prizes and giveaways if they meet just two qualifications — that they are 18 years of age and fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

“We appreciate the community rallying around the state’s COVID-19 vaccination effort and stepping up to encourage more Hawai‘i residents to get vaccinated,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “Thanks to our partners, there are more reasons than ever.”

Incentive packages include round-trip tickets to Las Vegas, a year’s worth of groceries, a million free airline miles split 10 ways and $1,000 gift cards to select locations, among several others. Minor discounts and bonuses are available for anyone with a vaccination card at some participating grocery stores and restaurants. For a full list of incentives, visit the website linked above.

The Hawai´i Department of Health (DOH) reported Friday that the site crashed just minutes after it was announced due to heavy traffic. However, it was functional again by 4 pm.

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News of the incentive program was released at the same time as the governor’s announcement that Hawai´i will abolish inter-island travel restrictions for all residents and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, as of June 15.

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The entire Safe Travels Program will also be abandoned and indoors mask-wearing mandates will be repealed as soon as the state hits a 70% inoculation rate. According to DOH, approximately 52% of the state has been fully vaccinated while 59% has received at least one shot.

For the full story on the end of restrictions in Hawai´i, visit Big Island Now.

Also part of the vaccine incentive program is making it as simple as possible to become inoculated. Ige said pop-up clinics will be announced across all islands and walk-in hours will be extended at several locations.

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Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawai´i, said at least 339 vaccination sites will be operational throughout the duration of June. These will include malls, farmers’ markets, beaches and community centers. Find a convenient site at HawaiiCOVID19.com/vaccine.

“COVID vaccines are safe, they’re effective and they’re free,” Char said.

The state Department of Health has also begun an information campaign that includes four new public service announcements:

  • Hawai‘i physicians answer common questions that young adults have about the COVID-19 vaccines
  • The University of Hawai‘i men’s volleyball community on how vaccination helps all community members get back to the things they love
  • Two new stories from DOH’s Live with No Regrets series, in which COVID-19 survivors lay out how their diagnosis changed their lives

“If you have questions, get answers,” Ige said. “If you’re busy, find the time.”

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations.
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