Hawaii Becomes 50th State to Expand Vaccine Eligibility

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World|Hawaii just became the 50th state to broaden vaccine eligibility.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/07/world/hawaii-just-became-the-50th-state-to-broaden-vaccine-eligibility.html

A vaccination last month on the island of Kauai.
Credit...Caleb Jones/Associated Press

Allyson Waller

  • April 7, 2021, 7:44 p.m. ET

Every Hawaiian adult will become eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, as Hawaii becomes the 50th state to heed President Biden’s call to accelerate vaccinations, a health official there said Wednesday.

The news came with a note of caution.

“This does not mean everyone will be able to get vaccinated on April 19, and people must continue to be patient,” Brooks Baehr, a health department spokesman, said in a statement. “Supply still does not meet the tremendous demand.”

In March, Mr. Biden announced that he would direct states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1. Then on Tuesday, with more states ramping up their vaccination efforts and expanding eligibility, he moved the target date to April 19.

Even before the president’s announcement on Tuesday, residents in Hawaii County, Kauai County and Maui County had opened up their eligibility to adults 16 years and older. That took place on Monday. Honolulu County has not yet expanded its eligibility.

As of Tuesday, about 35 percent of the Hawaiian population had received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 22 percent were fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.

Over the past two weeks, Hawaii has reported a 33 percent increase in coronavirus cases, most recently averaging 113 cases a day.

In the United States over all, about three million vaccine doses are being administered a day, on average. Mr. Biden has said he hopes for 200 million doses to be administered by his 100th day in office.

As vaccination becomes more common and some states relax restrictions, scenes resembling prepandemic life have begun re-emerging in the U.S., including in Hawaii, where throngs of tourists have returned.

The state has reopened to travelers, with visitors needing only a negative coronavirus test from the past 72 hours in most places to skip the state’s mandated quarantine order. Last Saturday, almost 29,000 visitors — a number comparable to prepandemic levels — arrived in the state, according to state travel data.

John Yoon contributed reporting.

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