The vast majority of Hawaii’s 14,000 state government workers have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with just a small fraction remaining unvaccinated as of Aug. 16, according to a report from the state’s human resources agency.

The new report from the state Department of Human Resources Development found that 87.6% of workers were fully vaccinated, while just 7.6% were unvaccinated. The report does not include employees in the state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii. No explanation was provided.

State employees were required to report their vaccination status under a mandate from Gov. David Ige that went into effect Aug. 16. Unvaccinated employees must submit to weekly Covid tests. The report also found that 98% of all state workers are complying with the new mandate, according to a news release.

“I am pleased with the vaccination and compliance rates, and I continue to encourage state employees and eligible Hawaiʻi residents to get vaccinated to protect their families, communities and themselves,” Ige said in a statement.

Governor David Ige speaks during press conference held at Prince David Kawananakoa Middle School.
More than 87% of state workers are fully vaccinated, according to a report on government employees compiled after Gov. David Ige’s vaccine mandate went into effect. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

According to DHRD’s report, 87 workers have applied for vaccine exemptions while another 11 workers were suspended without pay for not informing their supervisors of their vaccination status.

Data from the report indicates that employees who either refused to provide information on their status or applied for an exemption came from the state Departments of Health, Land and Natural Resources, Public Safety and Transportation.

The public safety department, which oversees Hawaii’s jails, prisons and state sheriffs, had the highest rate of unvaccinated workers in the state, with 17.7% of the department’s 2,099 employees reportedly not getting the shot.

Earlier this year, 90% of a correctional officer recruitment class refused to get the vaccine. The state has also struggled to track the number of inmates who have been vaccinated.

The state’s correctional facilities have been the site of coronavirus outbreaks during the pandemic. And DPS has struggled to comply with its own pandemic response plan even after being ordered by a federal judge to do so.

The DOT has the next highest rate of unvaccinated employees (11.4%), followed by the state Department of Defense (10.9%), the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (10.7%) and DLNR (10.1%).

Departments with the highest vaccination rates include DHRD, the state Attorney General’s Office and the state Department of Budget and Finance.

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