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No ‘clear cut strategy’ to get more Oahu residents vaccinated, Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi says


    Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he doesn't want to revert to more restrictive coronavirus measures as the state on Thursday marked 243 new coronavirus cases, the highest tracked since January of this year. Blangiardi said unvaccinated residents, who make up about 40.5% of the state's population, are opening themselves up to getting very sick.

In the face of eight straight days of triple-digit COVID-19 cases statewide, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi today thanked the two-thirds of Oahu’s adult population who have gotten vaccinated and continue to wear masks, even while outdoors, and said his administration is working with union leaders to encourage members to get vaccinated.

However, there is no “clear cut strategy” to reach an elusive goal of getting 70% of the state’s population vaccinated, Blangiardi said, after government officials have “begged, pleaded and cajoled.”

The latest Hawaii COVID-19 vaccine summary says 1,736,117 vaccine doses have been administered through state and federal distribution programs as of Wednesday, up 3,028 from a day earlier. Health officials say that 59.5% of the state’s population is now fully vaccinated, and 66% have received at least one dose.

>> RELATED: Hawaii sees 2nd ‘breakthrough’ death of fully vaccinated resident and 243 new infections

Some people have told Blangiardi they worry about getting vaccinated because of the lack of full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for COVID-19 vaccines.

In declining free vaccinations, Blangiardi responded: “If you’re not going to protect yourself, you’re probably going to get it. … (They are) holding themselves open now to getting very sick. … It’s really hard to say what’s going through people’s minds.”

Blangiardi this week said it was not an option for Oahu to revert to more restrictive “Tier 4” levels of crowd sizes and other rules to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Today, he reiterated the sentiment and said he doesn’t “want to go back.”

Asked by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser whether Honolulu loosened COVID-19 restrictions too early, Blangiardi said: “I do not think we went too fast.”

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