Gov. David Ige said that Hawaii will be receiving a larger than usual shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, making up for the delayed shipment last week due to the winter storm on the mainland U.S.
“They are going to catch up on the vaccine distribution this week, so we expect more than 77,000 doses of vaccine. That really represents last week’s Moderna shipment, which didn’t make it,” he said this morning on Spotlight Hawaii.
Ige said the state will soon be lowering the vaccine age requirement from 75 down to 70. The expectation was that residents over 65 would be allowed to have access, but Ige said state health director Libby Char believes it is smarter to open more slowly.
“Dr. Char really felt that it would better to go to 70 first, and then 65 after that,” Ige said, adding that the state is attempting to avoid long lines or any bottlenecks at vaccine distribution sites, which have occurred in other states.
“There’s 130,000 individuals between 65 and 75, and if we made it available to all of that, once again we feel that there would be too many people wanting to get their appointments and not enough slots,” he said.
Ige received his first dose of the vaccine today shortly after the broadcast.
“I know people have asked me how come I’ve waited, am I hesitant or reluctant, and that’s just not the case. I wanted the opportunity for frontline essential workers to be able to get vaccinated,” he said.
Ige also took questions on potential changes to the Safe Travels program, the reopening of schools, the backlog of people waiting for unemployment benefits, and the potential of Oahu moving into Tier 3 this week.
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 and to view the rest of this month’s schedule.