Covid cases in Hawaii have remained relatively low but increased slightly in August. 

It’s unclear when Hawaii residents will be able to access doses of the updated Covid-19 vaccine that has begun to be delivered here.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval of the updated vaccine on Monday, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended its use for everyone over the age of six months, according to a news release from the state Department of Health. 

Those who are 5 years and older should receive a single dose at least two months after their last vaccination, the release says.

New Covid vaccines began arriving in Hawaii on Thursday, but state officials couldn’t provide a timeline for when residents would start to be able to get their shots. (Denby Fawcett/Civil Beat/2020)

As the vaccines arrive, pharmacies and providers will need time to inspect the quality of their shipments and take inventory before opening up appointments, a spokesman for the department said. He could not provide a timeline for when residents would be able to start getting the vaccine and said more information on the rollout would be available Friday.

Residents will be able to find where the vaccine is available on the government website by filling in their zip code, according to the release. The website will be updated with a filter to show which locations serve people who are uninsured or underinsured. 

A new Covid variant called BA.2.86 was detected in late August and was found to be more infectious than previous variants in those who were previously infected with Covid and those who are vaccinated, according to the CDC.

The agency recommends the new vaccine for the fall and winter season and said the virus that causes Covid is always changing.

“Receiving an updated Covid-19 vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States,” the CDC said.

Covid numbers in Hawaii have remained relatively low but started to increase slightly in August. 

On July 1, the seven-day average number of cases statewide was 75, according to state data. By Aug. 18, the seven-day average had risen to 168. On Sept. 11, the number was 129. 

State officials reported a slight uptick in case numbers on Maui after the Lahaina fires, likely due to congregate shelters that housed people after hundreds of homes were destroyed.

Civil Beat’s community health coverage is supported by the Swayne Family Fund of Hawaii Community Foundation, the Cooke Foundation, Atherton Family Foundation and Papa Ola Lokahi.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

About the Author