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Hawaii to require travelers have booster shots to be 'fully vaccinated'

ABC News logo ABC News 1/18/2022

Hawaii will likely require visitors to the state to have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster if they want to skip quarantine.

Currently, under the rules of the state's "Safe Travels" program, travelers who don't want to quarantine for five days must either be fully vaccinated -- meaning two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- or have a negative COVID-19 test within one day of travel

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However, the program would change the definition of "fully vaccinated" to include booster shots, Gov. David Ige said during a livestream with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

This means fully vaccinated travelers who haven't received a booster shot will have to quarantine in Hawaii for five days.

Long security lines are visible at Kahului Airport, as passengers wait for departing flights from the island of Maui, Hawaii, Aug. 5, 2021. © Gado via Getty Images, FILE Long security lines are visible at Kahului Airport, as passengers wait for departing flights from the island of Maui, Hawaii, Aug. 5, 2021.

Ige said changes to the program will not occur for at least two weeks so people traveling to Hawaii can adjust their plans accordingly.

"We know that the community needs time to react to that, so we would have to provide at least two weeks for those who may not be up-to-date to go to have the opportunity to go and get vaccinated if they need to," he said, according to Hawaii News Now.

During the livestream, Ige also said he was speaking with mayors and other local leaders about requiring booster shots to dine in restaurants and participate in other activities and events. However, he said he will leave that decision up to individual counties.

Last month, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino revealed booster shots would be required for locals to be considered fully vaccinated.

The rule was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 8 but was delayed until Jan. 24 so people have time to schedule booster shots, reported KHON 2.

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This move comes as the Hawaii Tourism Authority announced the Safe Travels program would be undergoing several changes, including reducing the mandatory quarantine period for unvaccinated travelers without a negative COVID-19 test from 10 days to five days, in accordance with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Additionally, visitors will no longer be required to fill out an online questionnaire 24 hours before arrival to receive a QR code.

The governor's office did not immediately reply to ABC News' request for comment.

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