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Hawaii expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 60 and older
HONOLULU (KHON2) — Beginning Monday, March 29, Hawaii residents age 60 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Hawaii Department of Health made the announcement on Thursday, March 25.
“We are closely monitoring current and projected vaccination numbers, appointment availability and most importantly the amount of vaccine allocated to the people of Hawaii,” State Health director Dr. Elizabeth Char said in Thursday’s news release. “Our analysis of these indicators tells us it is time to expand vaccine eligibility to more people.”
Registration opportunities for those 60 and older will soon be available through links posted here and from healthcare providers around the state.
Some essential workers in the 1C group like construction workers, bank, finance and retail workers will still have to wait for their sign-up date, however.
“We were waiting for the 1C vaccinations to happen and when it did happen, it was like our legs were cut out from under us, especially now when in just the last week we had two projects shut down because of COVID exposure,” said Mel Silva, Hawaii Bricklayers Union, Local 1 business manager.
He said, there could be up to 150 workers at one job site and just one exposure could put them and their families in jeopardy even with COVID-19 procedures.
“The vaccination would help us get more safe on the job site and keep job sites open.”
Mel Silva, Hawaii Bricklayers Union, Local 1 Business Manager
Health officials say they understand the concerns but the change to opening to people age 60 and above stems from assessing risk levels.
“Our whole our whole approach to this is not only to vaccinate as many people as possible, but to protect the people who are at highest risk,” said Baehr.
He said, people will have to wait a bit longer until more supply of the vaccines come in.
“The only reason we have not flown the doors open to construction workers and banking, finance and retail and anybody else even people in younger age groups is supply,” said Brooks Baehr with the Department of Health. “We still have people who might be in Phase 1A or 1B … there’s always going to be this overlapping phase.”
The Department of Health has yet to set a date on when construction, bank, finance and retail workers will be able to register to get vaccinated. These groups say they are trying to be patient for now.
“From the beginning, we were waiting for our time, and like I said, it’s the anxiety for these guys and their families at home,” said Silva.
Vaccines have currently been reserved for those 65 and older, healthcare workers, individuals with chronic medical conditions that put them at high risk if infected with the virus, frontline essential workers in Phase 1b and certain essential workers in Phase 1c.