comscore Kokua Line: Can state report vaccination status with every new COVID-19 case? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Can state report vaccination status with every new COVID-19 case?

Question: When the state reports the number of new COVID-19 cases every day, does it know at that time how many are vaccinated versus unvaccinated people? It sure would be nice if they could report that on a daily basis. It might encourage more folks to get vaccinated.

Answer: No, Department of Health investigators find out the vac­cination status of each positive case after the fact, which is why those statistics are not included side by side in the daily case counts, officials said Thursday.

DOH staff follow up to determine the vaccination status of each case as quickly as they can and record that information, which is included in summaries reported to the public.

The vast majority of new cases in Hawaii continue to be among the unvaccinated, with the fast-spreading delta variant contributing to a surge throughout the state. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Thursday that 97% of all COVID-19 cases are among the unvaccinated.

The percentage of unvaccinated among the deaths is even higher: 99.6%. Hawaii’s death toll of 527 includes 525 people who were not vaccinated, Brooks Baehr, a DOH spokesman, said Thursday.

Although “breakthrough” cases make headlines — as in the case of a fully vaccinated Oahu woman whose death due to COVID-19 was reported Thursday — the broader threat is to those who have not been vaccinated, officials said.

Q: There were 66 new cases reported Thursday in people under 18, but how many of them were under 12 and not eligible to be vaccinated even if they and their parents wish they could be vaccinated?

A: Hawaii’s Health Department couldn’t say. Among minors it categorizes case counts from birth to 17 years, too broad a category to distinguish between people who aren’t eligible for COVID-19 vaccination (ages 0 to 11) and those who are (ages 12 and up).

As of Wednesday, children ages 0 to 17 accounted for 13% of all confirmed and probable cases diagnosed in Hawaii since the pandemic began, according to the state’s COVID-19 portal.

As you indicated, federal health authorities have not yet authorized COVID-19 vaccination for people under age 12.

Everyone who is 12 and older should get vaccinated immediately, Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said Thursday at a briefing.

Vaccination is highly effective in preventing COVID-19 disease, and especially hospitalization and death, she said, describing an urgent need to vaccinate all who are eligible.

Free COVID-19 vaccine is widely available throughout the state. Find a provider at hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine.

“The vaccines are our way out of this,” Baehr said as Hawaii marked eight straight days of triple-digit cases.

Q: If a vaccine-eligible adult chooses not to get vaccinated against COVID- 19 and then catches COVID- 19, will their medical insurance cover their treatment for a disease they could have avoided getting?

A: Yes, according to HMSA and Kaiser, two major providers in Hawaii.

“The vaccination status of our members is not a factor when making decisions regarding coverage. HMSA covers necessary COVID-19 treatment for all of its members, and strongly encourages vaccinations for all eligible people,” said Christine Hirasa, HMSA’s vice president for communications.

Similarly, “Kaiser Permanente health plans will cover medically necessary and eligible care regardless of vaccination status,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Auwe

Auwe to the driver of a black SUV who flipped me off at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. I was driving 50 mph on the freeway, westbound in Kaimuki, when you appeared on the 11th Avenue onramp. The traffic was heavy, cars in front of me and behind me. While you put your blinker on to change lanes from the onramp lane to my lane, there was not enough room for your car to fit unless I slowed dramatically to let you in. As I tried to slow down to let you in, you rolled down your window to show me the finger while forcing your way in front of me. You are lucky you didn’t cause an accident. You have a mile before you need to change lanes before the Kapiolani offramp. Please learn how to properly change lanes and drive with aloha! — Concerned motorist


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 kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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