Column: Prioritize older adults for vaccinations

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The recent release of data showing COVID-19 deaths by age in Hawaii presents a compelling argument for state leaders to follow the science and prioritize older adults.

Hawaii residents 50 and older account for 94% of all COVID deaths, according to statistics posted on Hawaiicovid19.com. The Feb. 15 report shows that 397 of the 422 Hawaii COVID-19 deaths were people 50 and older.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that people ages 50 to 64 with COVID are four times more likely to end up in the hospital than their younger counterparts, and worryingly, are at 30 times greater risk for death. If you are 65 to 74 years old, the risks are even higher.

Clearly, the state’s vaccination plans must prioritize the most vulnerable. That includes kupuna who have high-risk medical conditions and/or who work in essential jobs that expose them to close contact with others.

Hawaii’s vaccine supply is still limited and not meeting the demand or need. We must keep the pressure on to increase allocation to Hawaii and improve the efficiency for how they are distributed and administered.

As we move forward with the distribution of vaccines to the age 65-plus people with high-risk medical conditions and other essential workers, we must ensure tha

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