Lt. Gov.: 10,000-12,000 Administered Doses Unaccounted for in Maui’s Vaccine Rates
There are 10,000 to 12,000 vaccine doses that were administered and are unaccounted for in Maui’s vaccine rates being reported by the Department of Health, according to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green who was a guest during a talk story webinar hosted by Councilmember Kelly King on Tuesday evening.
According to Lt. Gov. Green, health workers compiled their vaccine information on paper and still need to translate the data into the digital VAMS (Vaccine Administration Management System) portal hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Based on the DOH reporting, Maui County currently has the smallest percentage of its population vaccinated compared to other counties in the state; however, Lt. Gov. Green says this does not account for the lag in data entry.
“When you calculate those 10,000 to 12,000 additional people, you’re right smack dab (on) par with the Big Island. That may not be very satisfying to see on a curve and it causes us concern, but you really are doing the same as everybody, with the single exception possibly of Kauaʻi, which is so small that they’re able to accelerate in some cases because their population of high risk people is smaller,” said Lt. Gov. Green.
On Maui, the state Department of Health reports that 9.1 percent of the population or 15,152 individuals have received a first dose of the vaccine; and 6.4 percent or 10,641 individuals have completed two doses. In total, Maui County has administered 25,793 doses among a total population base of 167,417.
In comparison, Kauaʻi is at 18 percent, Honolulu is at 14.6 percent and Hawaiʻi Island is at 12.7 percent of individuals who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. For second doses, Maui is at 6.4 percent, Kauaʻi is at 12.4 percent, Honolulu is at 7.2 percent and Hawaiʻi Island is at 5.1 percent.
The state is tracking at about 13.9 percent getting at least one dose. “It’s not perfect, I admit, but we’re attempting to be as focused on kupuna as we can,” said Lt. Gov. Green.
As of Wednesday, Maui’s 14 day average for new cases was 20 and test positivity rate over the same period is 4.3 percent.
“We worry, especially right now on Maui, where the positivity rate has come down (but) hovered higher than we would like,” said Lt. Gov. Green. “I expect the numbers to continue to drop. Maui–you have done well, but it sometimes doesn’t feel like it because you want no cases.”
“Despite the monumental damage this disease has taken on our communities, there is hope that we are turning a corner,” said Councilmember King. The seven day average of new cases in Maui County has come down from 35 as reported during King’s last town hall on Jan. 11, to 16 on Monday, Feb. 22. During that same period, Maui’s test positivity rate has also fallen more than half of a percentage point.
“The Department of Health used to report how much vaccine was being sent to each county and the percentage of application; now they are just showing the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.” With the town hall event, King said she is “hoping to sort through the confusion and provide a real picture of what is going on in our response to the pandemic.”
When looking at the big picture, Lt. Gov. Green said Hawaiʻi has done far better than the mainland. “I know it’s less of a consolation because the numbers have been slightly higher by percentage on Maui, though you really, I have to say are doing extraordinarily well compared to the rest of the nation… Hawaiʻi has far lower infection rates than other states… we are also now lowest in the nation for infections per 100,000 people.”
“Looking at the death rate, which is really in many ways, the most important thing to us at the end of the day–keeping our families alive and safe–you can see we’ve had the lowest death rate of late,” said Lt. Gov. Green saying many factors contributed to this including closures, mask mandates and social distancing.
Lt. Gov. Green said he anticipates Hawaiʻi will get a lot of extra vaccine this week because of the storms last week on the mainland. As of Tuesday nearly 50,000 doses arrived, including 34,000 Moderna doses and 15,000 Pfizer vaccines.
Maui received 2500 Moderna shots and 2340 Pfizer on Tuesday, which is 10 percent of the total that came into the state, according to Lt. Gov. Green. Also, he noted that the public health nursing staff took 40 doses over to Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.
“You have additional challenges. You have several islands in the county and that makes it harder to do what you do,” he said.
“Keep in mind, we’re doing very well. For adjusted population compared to the mainland, we should have had 2,000 deaths–we’ve had 400. We should have had 130,000 cases based on population–we’ve had 27,270, and I was one of them. So, it’s not always a consolation, but we are doing quite well,” said Lt. Gov. Green on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, Hawaiʻi’s deaths over the course of the pandemic had totaled 435 and total cases were at 27,320, according to DOH data.
Councilmember King said she’s planning an additional talk story webinar session, tentatively set for March 10, with Sen. Brian Schatz. “He’ll give us some updates from the federal government. That one will unfortunately be during the middle of the day because he is in Washington DC,” said King.
Tuesday’s complete webinar can be viewed here.