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Hawai‘i marks one year of vaccination availability

LIHU‘E — Wednesday, the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office reported six new cases of COVID-19, which includes one visitor and five residents.

Of the six new cases, one is a child and five are adults. Three of the cases are related to travel – two mainland and one interisland. The remaining three cases are considered community-acquired. Two of the community-acquired infections are close contacts of a previously announced case or are tied to an active cluster. The remaining case has no known source of infection.

The DOH marked the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 vaccinations in the islands on Wednesday by thanking the people of Hawai‘i, vaccination providers and everyone who has worked to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible around the state.

“COVID-19 vaccines are truly life-savers. And everything we learn about the omicron variant tells us the vaccines are just as important today as they were when we administered the first shot one year ago,” Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char said in a release.

To date, 2,439,075 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Hawai‘i. DOH estimates 73.2% of the state’s population has received either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine.

“Hawai‘i has embraced the vaccines, but it is important for those who are not yet vaccinated to get their shots,” Char said. “And with the introduction of the omicron variant, it is very important for those who are eligible to get their booster shots as soon as possible.”

People at least 18 years old who completed their initial series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago should a booster.

Those who are 16 and older who completed their initial series of Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago can get a booster.

Those who received a single dose of the Johnson &Johnson vaccine at least two months ago should get a booster.

“Booster shots are readily available and strongly encouraged,” Char said. “It appears holiday gatherings, the Omicron variant and loosened restrictions are fueling an increase in COVID cases. Vaccines, mask wearing and avoiding large gatherings will help us safely navigate the holiday season.”

A free pediatric vaccine for ages 5 to 11 is available seven days a week at Walmart and Longs Drugs at Kukui Grove Center in Lihu‘e. Walmart accepts walk-ins, and appointments are recommended at Longs at cvs.com/vaccine. There will also be a keiki walk-in at the Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea today from 2 to 5 p.m.

This Saturday, Dec. 18, Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai‘i will hold mobile vaccine clinics at their Kapa‘a and Waimea medical clinics from 9 to 11 a.m. Walk-ins are accepted and no appointments are needed.

All adults are now eligible for booster doses of vaccines.

A list of vaccination locations and hours can be found at kauai.gov/vaccine.

With Wednesday’s cases, the county has 80 active cases, with seven hospitalized.

To date, the county had recorded 3,370 cumulative cases.

Free testing is available at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A list of free testing locations and hours can be found at kauai.gov/COVIDtest.

A free mobile testing van is available for walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center today, Kalaheo Neighborhood Center on Fridays, Hanalei Neighborhood Center on Saturdays and the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex in Kapa‘a on Sundays.

A list of testing options can be found at kauai.gov/covidtest.
Source: The Garden Island

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