Lt. Gov. Josh Green said 70% of Hawaii’s population could receive the coronavirus vaccination by Independence Day, which would be a major step to restoring life to the way it was before the pandemic.
“I think July 4th is real reasonable where we could have so many people vaccinated that we begin psychologically to think, ‘Okay, most of us are safe.’ Probably should still wear a mask when we’re at gatherings or big public places, but we will begin to put it behind us,” Green said this morning on Spotlight Hawaii.
The Lieutenant Governor is spearheading the statewide vaccine rollout, which began yesterday at the Queen’s Medical Center, and continues today with vaccines delivered to Kapiolani Medical Center, Kaiser and Queen’s West. Neighbor island health care facilities will be receiving shipments next week.
“Before the end of December, we will receive 47 trays from Pfizer,” Green said, adding that each of those trays contains nearly 1,000 doses of the vaccine. This month, the state is also expected to acquire 26,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being produced by Moderna. Both vaccines require two shots, taken roughly a month apart.
Green explained that the state is distributing the vaccine according to a phased system, with frontline health care workers and the elderly first in line, followed by essential workers, those with compromised immune systems, and finally the rest of the adult population. He expects most people to be able to receive the first dose by some time in March or April.
“We want to get everyone vaccinated in a time, based on risk,” Green explained. “If you’re healthy, 35-years old, you don’t have any worries, you’ll be in phase three, and that’s when thousands and thousands of remaining people get the vaccine probably late spring. Kids will come last because right now they are finishing the studies, and they are in the very lowest risk category.”
Green is also leading the state’s Safe Travels program and said that he supports eventually waiving quarantine requirements for travelers who can prove that they have received the vaccine.
Green, who is an emergency room doctor, said that as a frontline healthcare worker, he expects to get the vaccine some time next week. He said he understands that some residents want to see him get the vaccine first, to prove that it is safe.
“Those dudes would like to give it to me right in the neck,” he said with a smile, gesturing toward his neck.
“It cuts both ways. I don’t want to go before anybody else that is entitled to it, but I am a healthcare provider, and I believe in vaccines personally, and I want to show in good faith that I’m willing to take something that I would ask anyone else to take.
Watch via the video above and submit your questions on our Facebook page.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.
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