Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccine uptake varies widely depending on where people live, new maps from the Hawaii Department of Health show.
More than half of Hawaii’s residents have been vaccinated, but the new geographic data provides a more nuanced picture of how the inoculation campaign is progressing by breaking it down by ZIP code.
“What is striking is that there’s a lot of disparities,” said Joshua Quint, an epidemiologist with the Department of Health’s Disease Outbreak Control Division. “We have several ZIP codes that are on the high end and then others are lagging far behind that. To me that represents access issues and barriers.”
The maps’ granular take on which areas have fewer people vaccinated is useful for public health planners to coordinate and strategize on where to bring future pop-up vaccine clinics or outreach events, Quint said.
On Oahu, for example, seven out of 10 east Honolulu residents received at least one vaccine dose, compared to fewer than 35% of people who lived in ZIP codes associated with West Oahu, Wahiawa and Wheeler Army Airfield.
On Hawaii island, Oceanview, Naalehu, Honaunau and Captain Cook ZIP codes had fewer than 35% of residents vaccinated, compared to more than 70% of Hilo residents.
More than 70% of Lanai residents have received at least one shot, while Molokai data show 45% to 60% initiation rates.
Vaccine completion rates also varied. They were stronger in Honolulu than elsewhere on Oahu, for example. North Hawaii island ZIP codes had higher vaccine completion rates compared to south Hawaii island regions.
On Maui, the highest completion rates were in Hana and lowest in Haiku, just north of Hana. Kauai’s vaccine rates appeared to be among the most consistent island-wide.
“Even on Kauai where there’s little less variation, there is still variation, and I think that’s helpful feedback for community and planners,” Quint said. “We have a lot of activities coming up in the month of June that will address the areas with lower vaccination rates.”
The breakdowns are the latest examples of disparities in the vaccine rollout.
Other state data show Hawaii residents who identify as Asian or white were more likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine than Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders or Black people, even as those communities have experienced disproportionately high rates of COVID-19.
The maps were generated with address information provided voluntarily by vaccine recipients when they received their shots, according to Quint.
The maps offer additional information as the state steps up efforts to persuade as many people as possible to get vaccinated in a bid to reach sufficient immunity to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Authorities have said most people who were eager to get shots have done so and they are now trying to remove barriers and make it easier for those who have hesitated to get inoculated.
As of Thursday, approximately 52% of Hawaii’s total population has been fully vaccinated and 59% have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. State health officials estimate there are hundreds of thousands of people who have yet to get a shot.
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