Saturday, March 25, 2023 |
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Gov. David Ige is urging those who haven’t been vaccinated and/or boosted for COVID -19 to do it now, while federally funded supplies of COVID vaccinations and treatments are available at no charge to consumers.
“There definitely is concern about the fact that Congress has not appropriated additional funds to fight COVID,” Ige said Monday during a livestream interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We do know that the federal government really has accelerated expansion of production of the therapeutic treatments. We know that the monoclonal antibody treatments, as well as the oral antivirals, have been spurred by the federal government committing to purchase large numbers of doses and spreading it to all the communities.
“We continue to have good supply of treatments as well as vaccines, but we do anticipate, and the White House has informed us that once we run out of the funds that have already been appropriated, then that means you would have to seek reimbursements from your health insurers. The treatments and the vaccines will not be as readily available as they are today.”
The governor also advised parents of children between 5 months and 3 years of age to arrange for vaccinations, as the feds are expected to announce eligibility for those keiki to be vaccinated soon.
“Most pharmacies can only administer vaccines to those 3 and older. And so, if you have a young child less than 3, the primary source for getting your vaccinations would be through your pediatrician. I certainly would encourage you to talk to your pediatrician ahead of approval and ask if they’ll be providing the vaccines in their office, or make arrangements to get your child vaccinated.”
Ige also encouraged viewers to order free COVID self-testing kits, which can be done at COVIDTests.gov.
“The federal government is still offering free at-home tests. That really allows you some peace of mind. If someone tells you they have COVID, you can test yourself,” he said.
According to Ige, he’s still concerned about the COVID case numbers in Hawaii.
“For the first time, last week, in 10 weeks, we actually saw the actual number of COVID cases decrease very slightly. So we believe we’re plateauing, which is a good sign,” he said. “But Oahu and Maui are at high transmission levels, or orange —and Hawaii Island and Kauai are at medium transmission levels.
“We are also seeing a slight increase of the numbers of people in the hospital, but it’s nowhere near what we saw in the delta surge. We continue to monitor that. It’s a concern but it hasn’t prompted us to take action at this point in time.”
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