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Fully Vaccinated US Travelers Can Bypass Quarantine, Testing Requirements

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

New changes to the state's Safe Travels Program went into effect Thursday.

Fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and its territories can bypass quarantine and COVID-19 testing if they possess one of three federally recognized vaccination documents.

That includes the official CDC vaccination record card, a printout from the federal Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), or the DD2766C form for military and Defense Department personnel.

Travelers without a COVID-19 test from a trusted state partner, or who are not fully vaccinated, will still have to undergo a 10-day quarantine.

Visitors will still need to create an account through the state's Safe Travels website, and fill out the appropriate sections before arriving in the state.

"Fully vaccinated means that you have gotten both shots of your Pfizer or Moderna - or your single Johnson & Jonson - and you have waited at least 15 days after the second shot, or the last shot if it's the J&J," said Sheri Kajiwara, safe travels special projects administrator.

"Children under the age of 5 do not need to meet quarantine requirements, testing requirements - of course, no vaccination requirements. But children 5 years and over need to qualify for an exemption to quarantine," she said.

Kajiwara says children age 5 and above who are not fully vaccinated will still either have to quarantine or be tested before arriving in the state.

Kajiwara says the change was not driven by an uptick in visitors and easing airport crowding. She says Gov. David Ige felt the vaccination rate in the state was at a sufficient level to ensure resident safety.

The state established vaccination rate benchmarks for opening up travel. Previously, Ige said he expected 60% of the state population to be fully vaccinated by July 8, which triggered the change.

The state will end all travel restrictions when 70% of Hawai‘i’s total population is fully vaccinated, the state said previously.

As of Wednesday evening, the state's COVID-19 portal indicated 58% of the population is fully vaccinated. Honolulu County had the highest rate at 60% fully vaccinated, while Maui County had the lowest at 52%.

Travelers seeking the vaccination exemption will have to upload their vaccination documents online and carry the hard copy with them. The new changes won't affect vaccinated resident travelers who can already come and go freely.

More information about the Safe Travels program can be found at travel.hawaii.gov.

Sheri Kajiwara also appeared on The Conversation on July 7, 2021.

Sheri Kajiwara - July 7, 2021
The Conversation

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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