Hawaii health officials say they can meet a new deadline set by President Biden Tuesday of offering COVID-19 shots to all adults by April 19, supplanting an earlier goal of May 1.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported the Aloha State was the only one not to commit to the new deadline, but state health officials contradicted that assessment.

“This does not mean everyone will be able to get vaccinated on April 19 and people must continue to be patient,” Brooks Baehr, a Hawaii Department of Health spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “Supply still does not meet the tremendous demand for vaccine.”

Crews from fishing boats wait to get their COVID-19 vaccinations at Pier 38.
Hawaii committed to a new national goal to open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people 16 and older. Fishing boat crews waited to get their COVID-19 vaccinations at Pier 38 this week. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

According to Baehr, the state was allocated 90,080 doses this week and expects 76,000 doses next week, but fewer than 70,000 doses the week after that.

“While the vaccine allocation to the state is not expected to increase over the next few weeks, the vaccine allocation to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is increasing dramatically,” he wrote. “We encourage people to explore vaccination opportunities through local pharmacies.”

The state remains in 1c of its vaccine campaign, restricting shots to people 60 and older and certain essential workers, although those rules are still being applied only on Oahu. The most populated island has yet to offer COVID-19 vaccines to people 16 years and older. Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii counties widened the eligibility pool Monday.

About a third of Hawaii’s residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Three different vaccines are currently being distributed, including those manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

An assessment by Becker’s Hospital Review, a health publication, ranked Hawaii 41st in the nation in terms of the percentage of vaccines it has administered based on how many it has been allocated.

Hawaii has received more than a million doses and administered about 75%, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data collected by Becker’s. The publication ranked Hawaii 16th in the nation in terms of the percentage of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or about 21%.

By DOH’s count on its website, 681,928 doses have been administered as of Monday, including some 25,000 doses that went to nursing home and long-term care residents through the federal program. The state health department is not privy to additional vaccines that have been administered in pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Safeway, according to DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo.

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