With the state of Hawaii distributing more than 180,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, infections and hospitalizations seem to be slowing down.
“It’s already reducing illness and disease in our state and hospitalizations, which is great news,” said Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. “Even the first dose gives a level of immunity.”
However, coronavirus mutations that are emerging all around the world, including the United States, have alarmed local health officials racing to immunize as many residents as possible. The Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division is warning the public that a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom may be circulating in the islands.
“The more variants there are, the higher the probability the current vaccines will not cover all these variants,” Raethel said. “That’s why we really are in this race to get people vaccinated so that we can minimize the amount of variants that will occur. That reduces the spread of the disease and the potential for the virus to mutate.”