State officials tout incentives, hope more residents will get vaccinated – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-06-16 05:23:13 –

State leaders hope that recently announced incentives and benchmarks will bring more people to the COVID-19 vaccine, but how these efforts actually affect the number of vaccinations. It’s too early to know what the impact will be.

Last week, the Safe Travels program was announced to begin accepting vaccination cards issued by healthcare providers somewhere on the mainland when the state reaches a vaccination rate of 60%.

The move will allow domestic trans-Pacific travelers who are fully vaccinated on the mainland to travel to Hawaii without the need for prior COVID testing.

When the full immunization rate reaches 70% across the state, all travel restrictions will be lifted and the SafeTravels program will end.

The state also announced that when the state reaches 60% and 70% immunization rates, respectively, restrictions on assembly and restaurant occupancy will be relaxed and terminated.

To promote delayed vaccinations, the state launched HI Got Vaccinated last week, an initiative to reward vaccinated residents.

“Personally, I think these incentives will work,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said in a live stream Wednesday. “What I really want is for the governor to announce these various thresholds and for others to educate their friends and family and say,’Vaccines are safe and effective.’ “

It’s still early, but Hara said he believes the number of people who want to get vaccinated will skyrocket.

Hara estimated that Hawaii could reach the 60% threshold around July 8th or 9th, and “need to get out of it” by late August or September.

However, depending on the rate of vaccination, it could be October before the state reaches the 70% threshold, said Brooks Baehr, a spokesman for the State Department of Health.

If the state receives an average of 50,000 vaccines a week over the next eight weeks, Baehr said Hawaii will reach 70% in early August, but “it’s pretty ambitious.”

He said he administers 40,000 vaccines a week and the state reaches that threshold in late August. Meanwhile, with a pace of 30,000 vaccines per week, Hawaii will reach the 70% mark in September.

Also, if only 20,000 vaccines are given each week, Hawaii will reach a 70% vaccination rate in early October.

“I’m not going to predict, I can’t predict how we behave, but I know those numbers,” Baehr said. “… I can’t really predict what it will be. We will make every effort to get there as soon as possible, and that is the purpose of this campaign as a whole.”

Baehr says there are many reasons why people haven’t been vaccinated yet, and DOH wants to address those reasons by focusing on outreach, education and access, but private sector partners are incentives. Said that it offers.

When asked if he expected an increase in the number of vaccinations, Veil said.

“We really want it, and we’re looking at all the benchmarks established by the governor … to reopen and even eliminate the restrictions on our lives,” he continued. “They are awesome carrots.”

According to Baehr, about 137,000 people registered on higotvaccinated.com by Wednesday afternoon, five days after the site was launched, but it’s too early for DOH to determine the effectiveness of the campaign.

“Of course, the problem is the number of 137,000 people who have already been vaccinated and displayed on the page because they want to win a prize, and the energized and energized people who participated in the campaign for the campaign. The number of people going to be vaccinated …, “he said.

On the Big Island of Hawaii, the Kona Community Hospital call center hasn’t seen an increase or decrease in calls requesting vaccines since the governor’s announcement, said spokeswoman Judy Donovan.

“We hope that the incentive program will help Hawaii reach its 70% immunization rate,” she said. “For those who are at stake about getting vaccines, I think it will move the needle.”

However, at Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital, clinic staff say that the number of walk-in clinics has increased moderately over the past week or so.

However, spokeswoman Lin Scully said the hospital could not determine the impact of the announced travel changes and incentive programs.

“I’m not sure if the prize incentives will help everyone, but I feel it’s worth it, even if it works for only a few people,” she said.

According to Scully, every time you add a shot, it makes a difference. That’s why QNHCH is making its own cash withdrawal next month.

Anyone who receives the COVID-19 vaccine at QNHCH or a hospital-sponsored off-site pop-up clinic by July 2 will participate in a draw to receive $ 500 in cash.

Those who have already been vaccinated by the hospital will automatically participate in the lottery.

Hawaii is doing well

When asked during the live stream how Hawaii is going overall as the pandemic goes on, Hara said the state was “really, really well.”

“Looking at this pandemic as a whole, Hawaii is probably the least infected and the least hospitalized and dead from the beginning. So we’re on track, on a downtrend, and I’m myself I like what I see. “

Hara said that when the vaccination rate reached 70%, the number of cases was declining and the vaccine was effective, so the trip could be started comfortably.

“So when we reach 70%, I’m really comfortable, because our population is protected and especially the most endangered people over the age of 60 can safely open up,” he said. .. “I’m not so used to some of the variants that are prevalent mainly in Europe.”

According to Hara, if some funding is secured and authorities find vaccination against some of the viral variants ineffective, “we may screen only for international travelers. not”. “But if everything is going well, our plan is to shut down (Safe Travels).”

Send an email to Stephanie Salmon at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

State officials tout incentives, hope more residents will get vaccinated Source link State officials tout incentives, hope more residents will get vaccinated

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