Hawaii Department of Health to expand coronavirus vaccinations to residents age 70-plus

Alonzo Osche

    An electronic message display sign provides the public with COVID-19 vaccination information at Blaisdell Center.

The state Department of Health said COVID-19 vaccinations will soon be offered to those 70 and older. Currently, only kupuna age 75 and older and “frontline essential workers” are eligible to get vaccinated under Phase 1-B of the state’s vaccination program.

The department will announce when sites are prepared to accept registration for members of the expanded age group.

Health officials earlier said they expect to open eligibility to Phase 1-C — individuals age 65 and older and other essential workers not included in 1-B — in March.

“We’re still in Phase 1b, and we’re not ready to go into Phase 1c yet. But soon, we’d like to welcome those 70 and older to get vaccinated. We know we still have kupuna and frontline essential workers waiting to be vaccinated,” said state Health Director Dr. Libby Char in a news release. “We’ve been vaccinating kupuna since about mid-January, and so we’d like to add in 70 and older to keep the uptake of vaccine really brisk.”

Vaccine availability continues to be impacted by delivery delays due to record-breaking winter weather on the mainland. The Health Department said 27,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine expected to arrive this week were delayed, although the state did receive 19,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

The DOH is awaiting news on when shipments will resume and when Moderna will send the backlogged doses, the release said. The state anticipates receiving more than 50,000 doses next week.

An estimated 281,315 COVID vaccinations have been administered, according to preliminary DOH data released today.

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