The first COVID-19 vaccines are here on Kauai. On December 21, 2020 Kauai received its initial shipment of vaccines and began vaccinating healthcare workers that day. Residents of long-term care facilities received vaccines through direct federal contracts with CVS and Walgreens. Those vaccinations began on December 28, 2020. First responders and frontline essential workers such as utility workers and airport personnel with frequent contact with travelers started receiving vaccinations on December 29, 2020.
So far, more than 5,000 doses have been administered to healthcare workers, first responders, education and childcare workers, public transit employees, long-term care residents and other frontline essential workers.
Kauai hospitals began vaccinating our kupuna aged 75 and older as of January 15. Local Hawaii State Department of Health clinics are focusing on frontline essential workers from the following sectors: education and childcare, food and agriculture, manufacturing, United States Postal Service and grocery stores.
Two vaccines have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use. The first, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, was authorized by the FDA on December 11, 2020. The second, developed by Moderna, was authorized by the FDA on December 18, 2020.
The State of Hawaii's vaccine plan recommends that the vaccine be provided to certain high-risk individuals first. These high-risk individuals include:
- Healthcare workers, broadly defined as those who work in the field of healthcare and provide direct or indirect patient care as well as workers who provide transportation, environmental services and other healthcare facility services who are at risk of exposure
- Long-term care facility residents
- Frontline essential workers – examples include first responders such as police and firefighters, corrections officers, public transit workers, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, and utility workers
- Adults 75 years and older
The initial shipments are of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Both vaccines require two doses of the same vaccine, separated by 3 and 4 weeks, respectively. Vaccines from other companies will be available as they achieve FDA EUA status and go into production and distribution.
Learn more about the different vaccines at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html
Vaccine supplies will increase over time and are expected to be more widely available in spring or early summer 2021 including at doctor’s offices, retail pharmacies and hospitals. Other groups will be offered COVID-19 vaccine as national and state supplies allow.
Taking the vaccine is completely optional and is being distributed at no cost. While the vaccination process is underway, all Kauai residents should wear masks, practice physical distancing and avoid large gatherings.