Question: I looked at that interisland travel form because I thought maybe we could do a little holoholo and have a nice getaway and spend a little money. Financially, we are doing fine through all this — we are fortunate — and would like to help Hawaii businesses. But the form had a “surprise” question for me. It asks whether you got the flu shot! I didn’t. Will that keep me off the plane?
Answer: No. Although most questions on Hawaii’s new traveler health form focus on the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the form also asks whether the prospective passenger has received a flu vaccine in the last year, and, if yes, when and in what country. That information is sought in the interest of public health and answering “no” won’t keep you off the plane, said Janice Okubo, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health.
Anyone who does receive an annual flu shot but can’t remember the exact date of their most recent vaccination should answer yes and give their best guess for the date, she said.
Getting a flu shot every year is recommended for most people over age 6 months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s even more important to deter the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid preventable illnesses that weaken a person’s overall health and take up health care resources.
Q: When traveling to the outer islands round trip from Oahu, do you need two health travel forms? One for going and one for coming back?
A: Yes, even for day trips, according to the state health department. Fill out the form no more than 24 hours before each flight. Your temperature will be checked before each flight and if your temperature is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit you won’t be able to board. Download the form and read related FAQs at health.hawaii.gov/travel/.
Q: On the mainland, African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to the TV news. Is that true in Hawaii as well?
A: No, not according to the health statistics on the Hawaii COVID-19 Dashboard, 808ne.ws/dash19, which is part of the health department’s website. The dashboard breaks down Hawaii’s caseload by race — defined as white, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, other Asian, black and other.
It shows that black people account for about 2% of Hawaii’s overall population but less than 1% of its COVID-19 cases. Native Hawaiians and Japanese also account for fewer cases than their demographics might predict. Native Hawaiians comprise 21% of Hawaii’s population, but 13% of COVID-19 cases, according to the dashboard. For people of Japanese ancestry, those figures are 15% and 11%, respectively.
By contrast, Pacific Islanders are disproportionately affected, accounting for 4% of Hawaii’s population but 14% of COVID-19 cases, according to the dashboard. People identifying as Filipino or white also are over-represented. The dashboard lists Filipinos as 16% of Hawaii’s population, but 21% of its COVID-19 cases; for whites, those figures are 25% and 27%, respectively. People of Chinese ancestry were roughly even, accounting for 4% of the population and 4% of cases.
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