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Report: Safe Access Oahu program increased vaccination rates among private workers

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:38 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Government mandates are increasing vaccination rates on Oahu, a new report concludes.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization says vaccination rates at private businesses increased from 84.4% to 92.4% since Aug. 30, when the city announced the Safe Access Oahu program.

“To put it simply, vaccine mandates have been very effective in increasing vaccinations,” said economist Ruben Juarez, one of the co-authors of the UHERO report.

The report polled nearly 2,000 businesses ― mostly on Oahu.

It found that with the new mandates, 5.9% of the workers in the private sector chose regular testing while 1.7% either quit or were fired.

But the study also found that some business are reporting a drop-off in traffic ― perhaps losing unvaccinated customers.

“There were some business affected. They’re telling us 35% of the businesses had a decrease in customers,” Juarez said.

Gary Cordery, director of the anti-mandate group Aloha Freedom Coalition, said he’s not surprised that vaccination rates are up.

“I think the mandates are an extreme overreach of governments ― not only of their responsibility but of their authority,” he said.

Vaccine supporters point out that the vast majority of Hawaii’s population has shown their support by getting their shots.

And the co-author of the UHERO report thinks the mandates are necessary.

“We are definitely safer and I think overall, it’s a small prices to pay,” said Juarez.

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