HONOLULU — The state Department of Health issued an executive summary of its updated COVID-19 vaccination plan Friday to provide a roadmap of how the vaccine will eventually be made available to all Hawai‘i residents by the end of this summer.
The prioritized system ensures the vaccine is distributed and administered in an orderly, safe and efficient manner, starting with prioritized groups based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices released on Dec. 20.
The DOH submitted its initial draft vaccination plan to the CDC in mid-October 2020, the deadline that was given to all states to support Operation Warp Speed. The initial draft included input from local, state and federal agencies, as well as private-sector partners.
“We are continuing to devote our full attention to ensuring we have a robust and orderly rollout of our vaccination program,” said Dr. Libby Char, DOH director.
“We’ve integrated the ACIP’s allocation and prioritization recommendations into our updated plan to reach those in high-risk groups as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
“Our plan prioritizes the vaccine for those who come into direct contact with the virus and those who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infections, and disability or death,” Char said.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) also announced Friday that Hawai‘i will receive nearly $95 million in a new round of federal funding to support the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, testing and contact-tracing programs.
The new funding from the latest COVID-19-relief package, and will be used to support COVID-19 vaccination, testing, contact-tracing, surveillance, containment and other mitigation activities.
“This money will go directly into making sure the vaccine gets into arms of Hawai‘i health-care workers, seniors, and everyone else as soon as possible, while also helping us stop the spread of the virus,” said Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The state is expected to receive $12,793,611 for vaccination and $81,495,303 for testing and contact-tracing from this round of funding. More federal funds under the new COVID-relief law to support these critical public-health activities are expected in the near future.
The updated plan breaks down the rollout of the vaccine into two major phases. The first phase includes three priority groups:
• Phase 1a: Health-care personnel and long-term-care facility residents, which is estimated to be 6% of Hawai‘i’s total population;
• Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers and adults 75 years of age and older, which is about 20% of Hawai‘i’s population;
• Phase 1c: Adults age 65 to 74 years, persons 16 to 64 years with high-risk medical conditions and essential workers not included in Phase 1b, which is 47% of the state’s population;
• Phase 2 will cover the rest of the population, which includes all persons 16 years and older who were not in other categories. Phase 2 is projected to begin in early summer 2021, depending on production and federal allocation of doses through Operation Warp Speed.
Based on the estimated number of people in each of these priority groups, 73% of Hawai‘i’s population will receive the vaccination by the completion of all of the categories in Phase 1. Phase 2 will cover the remaining 27% of Hawai‘i’s population.
Phases of the vaccine distribution may occur concurrently. In addition, in each phase, the order in which the vaccines will be administered will be based on age, with the eldest in the phase receiving first priority.
The updated plan also includes a number of contingencies:
w Vaccinations may be redistributed if there are significant outbreaks or clusters;
w Priority groups may include others if deemed necessary to limit the spread of disease, morbidity or mortality;
w Vaccinations may be distributed to populations prioritized by disease activity in geographical location, disproportionately-affected communities, and health and socioeconomic vulnerabilities.