Maui County mandates booster to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’
In a couple weeks, Maui County residents will be considered “fully vaccinated” only if those eligible have had their booster shots, according to a county announcement Wednesday evening.
The move makes Maui County the first in the state to mandate booster shots for entry to high-risk businesses. Other areas in New York and California have similar rules in place.
“We’re not the first in the nation,” County Managing Director Sandy Baz said today. “It’s not unique.”
Baz told Maui Now that he anticipates boosters will be part of the county’s emergency health rules each time they’re updated.
“(State Health Director) Dr. Char put it in announcements. We’ve been getting boosters for years with the flu,” he said.
The new emergency health rules, which will be uploaded on the County of Maui website today, changes the definition of “fully vaccinated” but not the applicability, Baz said. Currently, high-risk businesses of indoor restaurants, bars and gyms are county mandated to require proof of “full vaccination” for entry.
“Fully vaccinated” was considered two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or after the single dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
After Jan. 8, the definition of “fully vaccinated” will mean having a booster shot after six months of the Pfizer or Moderna second shot or two months after the Johnson & Johnson single shot.
“Mayor felt like this was the best for our community, from a public health and safety practice standpoint . . . to get people who are vaccinated already to understand the importance of getting their booster shot because the vaccine’s protection does diminish over time,” Baz said. “We are trying to enhance people’s natural defense systems, knowing it may not prevent everybody from contracting COVID but will significantly reduce the impact on their health.”
“Hospitalizations and severe sicknesses are significantly reduced with vaccinations and boosters,” he added.