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Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Safe Travels: Ige Drops Planned Booster Shot Requirement
By News Release @ 2:46 AM :: 1220 Views :: Tourism, COVID-19

BOOSTER SHOTS WILL NOT BE ADDED TO SAFE TRAVELS HAWAIʻI REQUIREMENTS

News Release from Office of the Governor, Feb 8, 2022

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced that the Safe Travels Hawai‘i program will remain unchanged at this time, and booster shots will not be required for “up-to-date” vaccination status for individuals traveling to Hawai‘i.

“In making this decision, we considered declining COVID-19 case counts in Hawai‘i, the continental U.S. and Europe. Hospitalizations have also dropped. In addition, we looked at Hawaiʻi’s robust vaccination rates and the continued push by businesses and organizations to get their employees vaccinated and boosted for the safety of their families and the community,” said Gov. Ige. “At this time, we will also maintain the indoor mask mandate and other rules that have helped us manage this pandemic while reopening the economy.”

“While booster shots are not required for the Safe Travels program right now, they continue to be very effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19,” said Dr. Libby Char, director, Department of Health. “New research shows a third shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is 90 to 94 percent effective in keeping people out of the hospital. Omicron case counts are dropping but we don’t know if or when we may see another surge in cases of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated and boosted now will help to prevent you from becoming seriously ill. The Department of Health recommends you get vaccinated and get boosted today!”

Incident Commander for COVID-19 Response Gen. Kenneth S. Hara said the decision not to include booster shots in Safe Travels requirements was a collaborative one.

“We made this decision in close coordination with the four county mayors, the Department of Health, and in collaboration with Hawai‘i’s travel, hotel, tourism, transportation, retail and restaurant industries,” said Gen. Hara. “I am exceptionally pleased that case counts, and hospitalizations are trending downward and am hopeful that conditions continue to improve so that the state can eventually end Safe Travels and all COVID-19 related restrictions.”

While the visitor industry’s concerns were noted and considered, Gov. Ige approved this course of action based on his assessment of the health and safety of Hawaiʻi’s residents, and continued efforts by the community to get residents and visitors vaccinated and boosted.

“While booster shots are not required to travel, we encourage visitors to stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, wear their masks, and travel responsibly throughout our islands for the health and safety of our communities,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Many of Hawai‘i’s businesses and visitor industry partners continue to work diligently to get their employees vaccinated and boosted to ensure that we can continue to keep Hawai‘i safe and to be great hosts to our visitors. We appreciate everyone taking personal responsibility to mālama (care for) ourselves and each other.”

Safe Travels Hawai‘i will remain in place at this time, requiring passengers arriving in Hawai‘i to show proof of their vaccination status in order to bypass testing or quarantine requirements.

For more information, go to: https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

The Safe Travels program will be prepared to quickly implement policies as necessary, to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors.

The Department of Health is currently working on criteria and conditions that would allow the state to eventually end Safe Travels Hawaiʻi. Until that time, the state is using ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to support the program.

###

 … FLASHBACK Jan 25, 2022 …

Ige: Booster shot added to Safe Travels Program ‘In next few days’--No Int’l Visitors Until End of Year

KHON: … “I don’t have a specific date to let you know at this point, but we do expect to be able to announce that in the next few days,” Governor Ige said….

The requirement would mean travelers to the State of Hawaii would need to have their COVID booster shot in order to by-pass quarantine. The other option for folks not vaccinated or who haven’t gotten their booster would be to get a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before departure….

KHON2 asked the Governor why the requirement hasn’t yet been implemented. He responded saying it’s a logistics issue with the Safe Travel’s website.

“It is an issue about updating the Safe travels platform and being able to accept the third vaccination,” Ige explained.

The Governor said the website is being updated now so that it can automatically approve boosters. He wants to avoid bottlenecks at Hawaii’s airport screening stations.

“Just like you were required to enter the information, you know, your name, the location of vaccination and date and which vaccine was administered, it would probably be a similar function for the third shot,” Ige said about how the updated website would work….

The Governor said adding the booster requirement is part of his plan for full economic recovery, and another piece of that plan is to bring back international visitors.

“We continue to have dialogue with Japan, with South Korea, with Canada, with Australia,” Ige said. “We are working really hard to get that restarted again and I do expect that before the end of the year, international travel will be back to normal.”… 

read … Gov. Ige confirms booster shot requirement will soon be added to Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program

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