Honolulu City Councilwoman Andria Tupola, who represents the west side of the island, said she will not be running for governor and has not received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Tupola ran for governor as the Republican candidate in 2018.
On the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii, Tupola said her family contracted COVID-19 while on a trip to Utah last year with minor symptoms.
She said that because she had already contracted the virus, she did not need a vaccination.
“I really wanted to make sure that whatever decision I make for our family is going to be correct,” she said. “Seeing as though we have been through the virus, we’ve contracted those symptoms, we’ve developed a level of immunity, to what level I don’t know because they’re still coming out with the studies as to how immune you are when you’ve already contracted it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have had COVID-19 still need to be vaccinated because it is unclear how much immunity having been infected provides. Those who contract COVID-19 should wait 90 days before receiving a vaccine.
Another reason she gave for not wanting to be vaccinated was a friend’s teenage child developing a brain tumor after being vaccinated. However, there is no scientific evidence linking COVID-19 vaccines to brain tumors.
Tupola represents an area that is being hit hard by COVID-19. It is also an area with some of the lowest vaccination rates on the island.
District 1 has a vaccination rate between 35% and 45%.
At a Council joint committee meeting last week, other Council members urged the public to get vaccinated. A representative from Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration said he was considering mandating that certain populations such as city workers be vaccinated. Oahu’s vaccination rate has been stalled at about 60%.
Tupola emphasized the need for more testing in her district and better forms of contact tracing.
“Imagine if we actually had community sites where people could regularly go through and test, we would probably know more about how to isolate the spread,” she said.
“The testing is a detection method. The vaccination is a preventative measure in the area we are at now. We need both.”