The state Department of Health announces Thursday state will extend vaccine eligibility to people age 65 and older and those who qualify as members of phase 1c beginning Monday, March 15.
“This is another huge step in the ongoing effort to protect Hawaii residents from COVID-19,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We will continue to administer vaccines soon after they arrive and are pleased we can now offer shots to more people.”
To date vaccines have been reserved for health care workers, those in long-term care facilities, frontline essential workers and people 70 and older. Expanding eligibility to phase 1c allows those age 65 and above, people with high-risk medical conditions and essential workers to be vaccinated.
Essential workers are people in industries and occupations important to the functioning of society and at increased risk of exposure. This includes people who work in hotels and hospitality, food service, banking and finance, transportation, construction, media, logistics, information technology and more.
Hawaii’s weekly vaccine allotment from the federal government has gradually increased from about 40,000 doses a week in early February to more than 62,000 doses this week. This growth is expected to continue. However, phase 1c is the state’s largest vaccination group with approximately 500,000 people and working through this phase will take a few months.
“We still do not have enough vaccines to get to everyone right away. Everyone will have the opportunity to be vaccinated but phase 1c is a very large proportion of the community, so we ask that people continue to be patient as the vaccination program continues to gain momentum,” Char said.
Registration opportunities for those 65 and older and others in phase 1c will soon be available through links posted on www.hawaiicovid19.com and from health care providers around the state.