Maui Mayor Proposes Vaccine Passport Pilot Program, Secondary Testing
March 31, 2021, 6:22 PM HST
* Updated April 2, 6:05 AM
Mayor Michael Victorino sent a proposal to Governor David Ige, seeking participation in a pilot vaccine passport program.
Under the program, fully vaccinated individuals, with at least two weeks of incubation since their final vaccination dose, would be able to bypass the state’s 10-day quarantine without having to take a test. The vaccine passport program is proposed for both visitors and returning residents alike, according to Mayor Victorino.
“It’s something that’s been bantered about, and we’re considering doing that as a pilot program here in Maui County,” said Mayor Victorino during an afternoon press briefing.
Under the program, participants would have to show proof of having completed inoculation with their final vaccine dose taken at least 14 days prior to arrival.
There’s no hard deadline for implementation, but approval would be needed for other aspects of the program, which he said he hopes to have in place no later than mid-April.
The mayor is also proposing the use of a second test upon arrival as an enhancement to the state’s Safe Travels program. Under the proposal, a rapid test would be available at the airport for this additional test. “This will guarantee that the Safe Travels program, if approved by the governor, would allow us to have that second test upon arrival so that we will know if there’s any contagious people coming in,” said Mayor Victorino.
The state’s 10-day quarantine would still apply to those who fail to take a COVID-19 test within 72-hours of arrival.
Mayor Victorino has long advocated for a secondary test and this is not the first time he has requested a mandatory secondary or post-arrival test. The mayor’s earlier request for post arrival testing was denied in October, but Mayor Victorino said rates and numbers are higher now than they were back then.
The idea of a vaccine passport in Hawaiʻi has been in discussion for some time but recently surfaced for discussion during a legislative briefing on Thursday with state health officials.
Maui’s case count is on the rise with state officials confirming a large cluster at King’s Cathedral in Kahului. Cases tied to the cluster doubled in the past ten-days and now totals more than 50 COVID-19 cases, according to an update provided this afternoon by the DOH.
The state Department of Health reports that there were 100 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Wednesday, including 30 on Maui and one on Lāna‘i. There were a total of 1,200 cases logged over the past two weeks, 376 of them in Maui County. Maui’s 14 day average for new COVID-19 cases is 28 and test positivity rate over the same period is 3.5 percent.
There are 19 individuals hospitalized in Maui County with COVID-19, five of them in the ICU and three on ventilators.
In Maui County, the DOH reports that 27.4 percent (43,758) of the population have received a first dose of the vaccine; 12.5 percent (19,343) have completed two doses; and an additional 1,582 doses (of single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) have been initiated and completed. In total, Maui County has administered 64,683 doses among a total population base of 167,488.
“The state is getting more than 81,000 vaccine doses this week and the federal government is distributing thousands more to Longs Drugs and Safeway,” according to state Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “The combined allocation to Hawai‘i this week tops 120,000 doses. We want those doses in the correct arms as quickly as possible and believe the neighbor islands are situated to get that done.”
Mayor Victorino said that of the 81,260 doses arriving through the DOH, approximately 17 percent of that, or 13,480 doses are allocated for Maui.
As for the outer islands, Mayor Victorino said he anticipates the Island of Lānaʻi will achieve herd immunity by the end of April; and hopes to work with health officials on Molokaʻi to implement a similar expedited vaccination effort to gain herd immunity there as well.