Question: What do we do if we are fully vaccinated in Hawaii, want to travel interisland, but do not have a smartphone or other internet access? How do we get the vaccine exemption? We can’t be the only ones in this predicament. We have our vaccine cards.
Answer: Kokua Line heard from dozens of other readers with similar concerns after the state launched a quarantine exemption for interisland travelers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Hawaii (808ne.ws/511kline). All travelers must make an account on the Safe Travels digital platform (travel.hawaii.gov/#/), but you can get help doing so at the airport if that’s truly your only option. Officials emphasize that’s not preferred, however.
Here’s more from retired Maj. Jeff Hickman, a spokesman for Hawaii’s Department of Defense:
“The intercounty vaccination travel program is managed by the counties, save the City and County of Honolulu (which does not require 10-day quarantine for interisland arrivals). Intercounty travelers who received vaccination in Hawaii and have completed their 14 days after their last dose do need to bring a hard copy of their vaccine card with them.
“County screeners at the airport can help upload vaccine documents; however, we highly encourage intercounty travelers to upload before they arrive to help expedite the screening process and reduce the time spent at the airport after arrival.
“We recommend individuals who do not have access to a computer, or a cell phone, or other mobile device ask a friend or family member for assistance in setting up a Safe Travels account. Internet access is also available free of charge at various state libraries. Another option for travelers is to contact 1-800-GOHAWAII or the ETS Safe Travels help desk at 1-855-599-0888.”
Q: Why does the vaccine exemption only apply interisland? Why can’t Hawaii residents who meet all the requirements (i.e. fully vaccinated in Hawaii) use this exemption to travel home from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, etc?
Q: If residents who are fully vaccinated from a Hawaii provider can travel interisland without going through the expensive and inconvenient COVID-19 testing rules using the Hawaii-approved website to upload their vaccination results, why can’t those same individuals use that site to travel back from visiting family on the mainland? I have a hard time reasoning out why that would be excluded.
A: “Proof of vaccination acceptance as a travel document is innovative and unique to Hawaii. Out of an abundance of caution, we are rolling this out in phases with the first phase being intercounty travelers who received vaccination in Hawaii. This allows health officials and policymakers to evaluate impacts of the phases. Travel quarantine exemptions for Hawaii vaccinated trans-Pacific travel is the next phase. The pre-travel testing program and critical infrastructure worker exemption remain as options for trans-Pacific travel,” said Hickman.
The people who did what Gov. Ige asked them to do and got vaccinated as soon as possible are being held hostage by people who refuse to get vaccinated! And now the governor is letting that happen! Auwe! The vaccine is easily available now and people who are compliant should be rewarded and allowed to live their lives. Adults who refuse to get vaccinated should face the consequences of their own choices. Once they realize that they are the ones at risk, maybe they will get vaccinated! — Frustrated reader
(Kokua Line has received numerous calls from readers upset that Gov. David Ige has kept Hawaii’s face mask mandate in force, despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear face masks in many settings. Ige said at a news conference Thursday that he wants many more Hawaii residents vaccinated before lifting the statewide restriction, and that it’s impossible to tell who’s vaccinated and who’s not. But readers who complained to Kokua Line said Ige’s rationale gives unvaccinated adults no incentive to get the shot, moves the goalposts on when to ease Hawaii’s COVID-19 restrictions, and deprives compliant residents of the sense of normalcy present in many other U.S. states. We shared these complaints with the governor’s office, and asked how other readers could reach out directly. Spokeswoman Jodi Leong said people may comment through the Constituent Services division, at governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/.)
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email [email protected].