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Kokua Line: When can I upload my vaccine card for a trip home from the mainland?

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Question: What a relief that our vaccination card will get us home from our graduation trip to Oregon. But help! I cannot for the life of me figure out how to upload our cards to the Safe Travels app.

Answer: You’re having trouble because the app has not yet been updated to reflect the expanded quarantine exception scheduled to take effect Tuesday, when travelers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Hawaii can return to the state without having a pre-travel test or quarantining upon arrival. In addition, Hawaii’s intercounty travel quarantine will be lifted altogether on that day.

You are one of many readers who have called or emailed Kokua Line since Gov. David Ige on Friday announced the upcoming changes. You and others wanted to upload your vaccine card right away, for your return to Hawaii on Tuesday or later. The Safe Travels app isn’t ready for those uploads yet, but eligible travelers’ vaccine exemptions will be honored as of that day, Kokua Line was assured.

“Beginning June 15, 2 a.m. HST, travelers who received vaccination in Hawaii will be able to upload their vaccination document into the Safe Travels Digital Platform to receive exception from quarantine,” Maj. (Ret.) Jeff Hickman, a spokesman for the state Department of Defense, said Tuesday in an email.

After our query the Safe Travels website (travel. was updated to reflect that fact. More FAQs are expected to be added soon.

Other readers said they were able to upload their vaccination cards, following the process for an interisland trip even though they would be coming home from the mainland; we’d encourage them to double-check their Safe Travels accounts before they head home.

All Hawaii residents planning to use the vaccine exception for their trip home must bring their vaccination card to the airport. You must be prepared to show it when you arrive in Hawaii, even if you’ve already uploaded it to your Safe Travels account.

Q: What is the website where you register for prizes if you are vaccinated against COVID-19?

A: The website is

Q: I was exposed to COVID-19 early on and probably got a mild case. I never had treatment. Am I supposed to get vaccinated, or is natural immunity enough?

A: People who have recovered from COVID-19 should also get vaccinated against the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you had received treatment, you may be advised to wait 90 days to be vaccinated, depending on the type of treatment. Read more at Studies indicate that people who recovered from COVID-19 and later were vaccinated might develop lifelong immunity and not need booster shots. Don’t take that as a recommendation to catch the disease, however, as the risks are unpredictable — some people have few symptoms, others are sick for months or have lasting side effects, and others die. Vaccination is the preferred path to immunity, according to health experts, even if booster shots are required eventually. Read more about immunity after recovery and vaccination at


The state should not say there are “vaccine deserts” as if the vaccine is not available. The vaccine is available all over Oahu! Maybe there are “common sense deserts” where people who should know better refuse to take the vaccine. My wife is an organ-transplant survivor whose life depends on people being able to comprehend the concept of public health, and on being able to understand that reliable research shows these vaccines are safe and effective. As it stands now, she can’t leave the house. Please, stop coddling the deniers! — Frustrated reader

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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