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COVID Booster Shots Won’t be Added to Safe Travels Hawai‘i Requirements

February 8, 2022, 11:46 AM HST
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Booster shots will not be required for “up-to-date” vaccination status for individuals traveling to Hawai‘i, Gov. David Ige announced today.

Safe Travels Hawai‘i will remain in place at this time, requiring passengers arriving to the state to show proof of their vaccination status in order to bypass testing or quarantine requirements. Incident Commander for COVID-19 Response Gen. Kenneth S. Hara said the decision not to include booster shots in Safe Travels requirements was a collaborative one.

Governor David Ige. Courtesy photo

“We made this decision in close coordination with the four county mayors, the Department of Health, and in collaboration with Hawai‘i’s travel, hotel, tourism, transportation, retail and restaurant industries,” Hara said. “I am exceptionally pleased that case counts, and hospitalizations are trending downward and am hopeful that conditions continue to improve so that the state can eventually end Safe Travels and all COVID-19 related restrictions.”

In making this decision, Ige said they considered the declining COVID-19 case counts in not only Hawai‘i, but the continental U.S. and Europe.

“Hospitalizations have also dropped. In addition, we looked at Hawaiʻi’s robust vaccination rates and the continued push by businesses and organizations to get their employees vaccinated and boosted for the safety of their families and the community,” Ige said. “At this time, we will also maintain the indoor mask mandate and other rules that have helped us manage this pandemic while reopening the economy.”

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Dr. Libby Char, director, Department of Health said while booster shots are not required for the Safe Travels program right now, they continue to be very effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19.

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“New research shows a third shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is 90 to 94% effective in keeping people out of the hospital,” Char stated. “Omicron case counts are dropping but we don’t know if or when we may see another surge in cases of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated and boosted now will help to prevent you from becoming seriously ill. The Department of Health recommends you get vaccinated and get boosted today!”

While booster shots are not required to travel, John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, encouraged visitors to stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, wear their masks, and travel responsibly throughout the islands for the health and safety of the communities.

“Many of Hawai‘i’s businesses and visitor industry partners continue to work diligently to get their employees vaccinated and boosted to ensure that we can continue to keep Hawai‘i safe and to be great hosts to our visitors,” De Fries said. “We appreciate everyone taking personal responsibility to mālama (care for) ourselves and each other.”

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For more information, go to: https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

Officials say the Safe Travels program will be prepared to quickly implement policies as necessary, to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors.

The Department of Health is currently working on criteria and conditions that would allow the state to eventually end Safe Travels Hawaiʻi. Until that time, the state is using ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to support the program.

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