The State Department of Health has said COVID-19 vaccines will soon be offered to people 70 and older. Currently, only kupuna aged 75 and over and “essential frontline workers” are eligible to be vaccinated under phase 1-B of the state’s immunization program.
The department will announce when sites are ready to accept enrollment from members of the extended age group.
Health officials said earlier that they plan to open eligibility for Phase 1-C – people aged 65 and over and other essential workers not included in 1-B – in March.
“We are still in phase 1b, and we are not yet ready to enter phase 1c. But soon we would like to welcome those 70 and over to get vaccinated. We know we still have kupuna and essential frontline workers waiting to be vaccinated, ”state health director Dr Libby Char said in a press release. “We’ve been vaccinating kupuna since around mid-January, so we’d like to add 70+ years to keep the vaccine uptake very fast.”
Vaccine availability continues to be affected by delivery delays due to record winter conditions on the continent. The Health Department said 27,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine that are expected to arrive this week have been delayed, although the state has received 19,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
DOH is awaiting news of the resumption of shipments and when Moderna will send the late doses, the statement said. The state plans to receive more than 50,000 doses next week.
According to preliminary DOH data released today, approximately 281,315 COVID vaccinations have been administered.