Starting Monday, Maui will join Hawaii and Kauai counties in expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to all residents ages 16 and older, the final group in the state’s four-phase immunization program.
With an increase in vaccine doses being shipped to Hawaii, the state Department of Health last week gave its District Health officers on the neighbor islands approval to expand vaccine eligibility as needed, since they are most familiar with their communities’ population, health care resources and enthusiasm for the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Health Director Dr. Libby Char.
She said the state’s combined vaccine allocation last week topped 120,000 doses. “We want those doses in the correct arms as quickly as possible and believe the neighbor islands are situated to get that done,” Char said in a news release.
Those under 18 years old will be administered the Pfizer vaccine, so far the only one approved for use in children. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to get the shot.
Oahu continues to reserve vaccination to those in Phase 1c, which includes residents age 60 and older, people being treated with oxygen for severe respiratory conditions, those on dialysis, chemotherapy or other infusion therapy, and essential workers at hotels, restaurants and bars, along with members of previous priority groups in Phases 1a and 1b.
Vaccine eligibility on Oahu will be extended, starting Monday, to workers in construction, banking and finance, communications, media, retail, information technology, clergy and transportation and logistics.
As of Wednesday, 634,442 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Hawaii. Kauai County leads the state with 37.4% of its population having gotten at least one shot, followed by Maui, 28.1%; Hawaii island, 27.7%; and Oahu, 27%.
The DOH on Saturday reported four new coronavirus-related deaths — three on Oahu and one on Maui — and 112 infections statewide, bringing the state’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 467 fatalities and 30,039 cases.
The new cases include 72 on Oahu, 24 on Maui, nine on Hawaii island, one on Kauai and six Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state, according to health officials. The statistics reflect the new infections reported to the department on Thursday.
The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 23,285 on Oahu, 2,942 on Maui, 2,510 on Hawaii island, 196 on Kauai, 111 on Lanai and 34 on Molokai. Additionally, 961 Hawaii residents were diagnosed outside of the state.
The state’s official coronavirus-related death toll includes 369 fatalities on Oahu, 53 on Hawaii island, 41 on Maui, one on Kauai, and three Hawaii residents who died outside the state.
The DOH reported that a total of 2,009 cases have required hospitalization, with no additional hospitalizations reported Saturday. According to the latest information from the DOH’s Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard, 42 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Friday morning, with nine in intensive care units and five on ventilators.
Saturday’s seven-day average case count for Oahu was 61 and the seven-day average positivity rate was 2.1%.