Oahu Ready For ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Vaccine Passport


Gavin Bedoya

As businesses around Waikiki follow new vaccine passport mandates this week, hotel industries around the island will need to adjust in cooperating with the states new plan.

With Hawaii being only at 56 percent fully vaccinated, the state has now mandated vaccine passports to all locals and tourists visiting the islands.

Starting Monday Sept. 13, Hawaii will be rolling its  mandate for all residents and tourists to require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering all restaurants, gyms, and any indoor facility. This plan will be active for 60 days, with the hope that this will encourage a decrease in staggering Covid-19 cases.

Since last week Friday, Hawaii has seen over 8,000 cases of Covid-19 statewide, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. The state also announced following the rise in Covid numbers that over 60 people have died to this virus this month alone.

As the Delta variant continues to infect local communities in Hawaii, vaccinations and personal hygiene has been promoted numerous of times by the CDC and World of Health Organization for us to stop the spread of these variants.

Erica Lam, a Honolulu native, is currently working as a nursing assistant at Straub Medical Center. According to the recent briefings she has received from Straub, the majority of cases the hospital has taken in have been primarily unvaccinated individuals. Thus, the state’s decision to implement more restrictions against those who are unvaccinated by showing proof of negative tests against Covid-19 weekly. The 24-year-old hopes that Hawaii’s officials’ efforts are putting forth could encourage awareness in more individuals to get vaccinated before the state does another lockdown.

She also advertises for more people too get vaccinated so she and her coworkers can see there families on a normal basis, and aren’t constantly overwhelmed each week working graveyard shift hours away from their loved ones.

“I agree with the vaccine passports, working in a hospital, I see a lot of individuals dealing with covid and working with these patients daily, I wouldn’t wish upon others to suffer like how I see it every day,” said Lam, a Kapiolani Community College student.

She strongly recommends people to pay attention to what doctors are informing us about the pandemic, as there are more people across the country that are fighting other serious illnesses can’t receive proper treatment and are being held off until more ICU beds clear for appointments.

According to USAfacts, only 794,878 fully vaccinated residents in Hawaii have received one of the three vaccines against Covid-19. Layne Matsunaga believes this passport is essential in increasing the number of fully vaccinated individuals, and avoid the possibility of losing more loved ones to this disease.

“Even though my friends think this passport is worthless, I personally agree with the idea of vaccine passports because I believe it is better safe than sorry,” said Leeward Community College student Matsunaga. “I believe in the science, having knowledge and studied about different types of vaccines myself, I know these vaccines work, otherwise more people would be dead without it.”

The Honolulu native mentions that this passport is better for Hawaii to mandate now before our hospitals become over-populated with Covid patients, and because the state has still not reached its goal in getting 70 percent of local residents fully vaccinated. The 20-year-old has suggested people who didn’t think about taking the vaccine to reconsider their thoughts about getting vaccinated before the state rolls out more restrictions.

“The more we wait and debate whos right or wrong about mandating vaccine passports, the more people are going to die whether they are vaccinated or not,” said Matsunaga, a Pharmacology major. “So it is truly up to us in order to step up and start doing the right thing.”

Nevertheless, there is some level of concern for vaccine passports as there are is some ways people can fake their vaccination cards.

“With vaccine passports, there will be people that would also try to fake their vaccination cards in order to enter these places, and I feel like the state has to do more to verify these cards aren’t fake.” Lam said.

24-year-old Chloe Mrozak from Illinois entered Hawaii with a fake Covid vaccine card. As reports headline that her vaccine card misspelled “Moderna” with “Maderna,” Honolulu Police Department was granted by Hawaii officials to go after her arrest for not following Covid guidelines given by the State of Hawaii and CDC.

As these new proposals roll out, there is some concern that people will try to fake vaccination cards to avoid the restrictions given by the state.

Just recently, on Travel Weekly, Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel visitors must require proof of Covid vaccination in order to reserve a stay at their hotel. Due to the rise in Covid cases around Oahu, having more hotels and travel agencies follow this guideline could slow down travel to the state but also keep our efforts as a nation to getting back to normalcy.

“This is a pretty bold move by these hotels to now have proof of vaccination into our tourists because, so many of these individuals look to seek freedom against all the chaos from Covid happening at their home,” said Tanner Macdonald, a 23-year-old from Honolulu. “moving forward I think the people of Hawaii will look to this as a better direction of possibly lowering our Covid cases here.”

The Kapiolani Community College student believes that this is one of the many steps the state could also address to be mandated, but also claims it would be challenging knowing their are still people out there that don’t believe in the science or are still unsure about how the vaccine works. He also mentions that people who still don’t know anything about the Covid-19 vaccine should not be getting advice about the vaccine through social media.

“Telling someone to take the vaccine is a bit viscous to me, and that is why I feel people should have a choice in taking the vaccine.” Business Major, Macdonald said. “But I also do admit that majority of the misinformation in social media also has a big role in why people aren’t believing in the vaccine, and are using a lot of excuses to ignore what these health experts have informed us about the vaccine.”