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Half of Kaua‘i’s population vaccinated

LIHU‘E — In a recent study from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, professors of the Department of Communicology say there are a fair amount of residents surveyed statewide who are still not sure if they will take the vaccine.

Meanwhile, county and state officials say half of Kaua‘i’s population has been vaccinated as of Thursday.

“The complication is that, while individuals may say they will get a vaccine, for several reasons, they may not be able to follow through,” Professor Hye-ryeon Lee said. “This issue, along with 30% of Hawai‘i adults expressing hesitancy about receiving a vaccine, is a concern.”

Professor Amy Ebesu Hubbard of the Department of Communicology said in Hawai‘i, 31% of the adult population have received at least one dose, and 36% have indicated that they will definitely get the vaccine.

Between 700 and 900 Hawai‘i residents were surveyed in each bi-weekly PULSE survey by the U.S Census Bureau.

The UH study also said 19% of respondents report that they will “probably” get vaccinated. This group, which includes individuals with different levels of education and of whom just over half are between 25 and 54 years of age, report concerns about perceived harm and deference to others as reasons for being hesitant.

Aida Reonal, 57, from Lihu‘e, an office worker at Kapa‘a High School, said she got the vaccine the first time it was available for state Department of Education employees..

“I want to travel and get the protection too,” Reonal said.

Chad Deal, 74, from Hanalei, said he normally doesn’t get the flu shot, but figured he should get the COVID-19 vaccine to help wipe the virus off the map.

“I have met others who on their second dose have had slight reactions, but not major,” Deal said. “I noticed a minor pain in lymph nodes on the armpit, which only lasted about two days. I received my second shot on March 18, a month after the first shot.

“I am not so concerned about my own safety, but I am concerned about others, especially those with underlying conditions. Doing my part to help our worldwide ‘ohana,” Deal said.

The UH study said 9% report they will “probably not” get vaccinated. This group is generally younger. This group shares concerns about safety and side effects with other groups, but is also concerned about whether a vaccine will work.

Anuhea Rapozo, 20, from Hanapepe, is not interested in taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m not taking the vaccine because I want to protect myself,” Rapozo said. “Last year, before COVID, I took a flu shot. Shortly after I got the flu shot, I was sick for three weeks, and the cough lasted a couple of months.”

The county video on Thursday indiciated more than 39,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given on Kaua‘i.

Mayor Derek Kawakami said there are three kinds of vaccines now available on the island: Pfizer and Moderna, which require two injections, and the Johnson &Johnson vaccine, which is single-dose.

Kawakami said the current priority groups in 1c are anyone 60 and older, anyone 16 and over who is at high risk, and all essential workers 16 and over.

“The top priority in this group is anyone working in the travel industry, restaurants or bars,” Kawakami said. “If you were eligible earlier — in group 1a or 1b — but didn’t get vaccinated, you are still eligible.”

Kawakami said vaccines are available at the state Department of Health clinic at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e, Wilcox Medical Center in Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea, Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital in Kapa‘a, Longs in Waipouli, ‘Ele‘ele and Koloa, for those 65 and older and certain essential workers. Ho’ola Lahui clinics also offer vaccines for their established patients. Certain other pharmacies are also offering vaccines.

“In short, most adult residents on Kaua‘i are now eligible for a vaccine,” Kawakami said. “If you would like a vaccine, but are unsure of your eligibility, we encourage you to complete a survey at kauai.gov/vaccine.”

According to the DOH, the state administered 568,376 COVID-19 vaccines statewide, and 10,333 vaccines in one day, as of March 24.

“While we know that some people are hesitant to be vaccinated, we have been gratified to see that hesitancy decrease over time,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, DOH Kaua‘i District health officer. “On Kaua‘i, we continue to see a high level of interest in being vaccinated.”

Berreman said over 35% of Kaua‘i residents have received an initial vaccination, more than 21% are fully vaccinated, and more are signing up every day.

“As more residents see friends, colleagues and family members being vaccinated — and the sense of relief that brings, as well as the enhanced personal safety when going about daily activities — we feel more comfortable being vaccinated ourselves,” Berreman said.

“With Kaua‘i opting back into the state’s Safe Travels program on April 5, we know there will be more travel and more travel-related cases of COVID-19.

“This is an especially important time for Kaua‘i residents to be vaccinated so that our community is well-protected against the spread of disease,” she said.

Berreman said anyone who isn’t sure if they are eligible to be vaccinated should complete the short survey at kauai.gov/vaccine. When it’s your turn, make an appointment to be vaccinated.

The DOH website regarding the vaccines is health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii/#vaccine.

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Stephanie Shinno, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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