May Cabusas, 52, was hoping to get a COVID-19 vaccination as a caregiver when she took her parents to get their shots at the mass vaccination clinic at Pier 2 in March, but she was turned away.
The Mililani resident was disappointed but figured she’d be able to sign up when her employer, a mortgage and loan company, became eligible under Phase 1c of the state’s vaccination program. However, Cabusas said she was stymied by the registration system and had “backed off” — until the state Department of Health announced Thursday that coronavirus vaccine eligibility will expand to Oahu residents age 50 and older beginning Monday.
By Thursday afternoon Cabusas was on her computer, excited to finally be making an appointment.
“I’ve been wanting to go,” she said, adding she has tried not to worry about catching the virus while waiting her turn. “I figured if I don’t think about it, I won’t get it. I’m a more positive person. I do have my mask, I have the sanitary things, I obey the rules, I try not to go anywhere.”
State Health Director Libby Char, in a news release, called the wider eligibility “a great opportunity for residents 50 and older on Oahu to register before vaccine eligibility opens to everyone 16 and older on April 19.”
Vaccinations are currently available on Oahu to residents ages 60 and older, as well as other groups under Phase 1c, which focuses on people with specific high-risk medical conditions and those working in the food industry and certain essential businesses.
Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties already have opened inoculations to individuals ages 16 and older.
Since COVID-19 vaccines became available in December, an estimated 888,772 doses had been administered across the islands as of Wednesday through state and federal programs, according to DOH data. Thirty percent of Hawaii’s population have received at least one shot, and 19% have completed two doses.
Forty-eight percent of the statewide doses have gone to individuals age 60 or older, the data shows. On Oahu, 69% of residents age 75 or older have gotten at least one shot, and 57% of residents age 60 and older have, too. Those figures do not include vaccines administered through the U.S. Department of Defense and the federal pharmacy program for long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
Just as vaccination eligibility is expanding, Walgreens announced Thursday that appointments are available at select stores in Honolulu, Kailua, Kaneohe, Wahiawa, Waipahu and Ewa Beach. Walk-ins will not be accepted; to schedule an appointment, visit Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine or call 800-Walgreens.
Also Thursday, the DOH reported three new coronavirus-related deaths and 122 infections statewide, bringing the totals since the start of the pandemic to 470 fatalities and 30,485 cases.
The new cases include 70 on Oahu, 40 on Maui, 10 on Hawaii island, one on Kauai and one Hawaii resident diagnosed outside the state.
The deaths involved two women in their 60s, one on Oahu and the other on Maui, and a Maui man in his 30s, all with underlying medical conditions.
The statistics released Thursday reflect new infections reported to the department Tuesday.
The total number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 23,537 on Oahu, 3,067 on Maui, 2,557 on Hawaii island, 199 on Kauai, 111 on Lanai and 34 on Molokai. Additionally, 980 Hawaii residents have been diagnosed outside of the state.
Health officials also said 1,350 cases were considered “active,” up five from the last tally. Oahu has 797 active cases; Maui, 388; Hawaii island, 153; Kauai, 11; and Lanai, one.
So far, 2,035 cases have required hospitalization, with 12 new hospitalizations reported Thursday.
According to the latest information from DOH’s Hawaii COVID-19 Data dashboard, 47 patients with the virus were in Hawaii hospitals as of Thursday morning, with eight in intensive care units and five on ventilators.
To sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations, go to 808ne.ws/hawaiivaccines.