Hawaii will likely soon require visitors to have a Covid booster shot if they want to travel to the islands.
State Governor David Ige told reporters that his office is strongly considering changing its definition of “fully vaccinated” from two doses of an approved Covid vaccine to three. That would mean that travelers who have not had booster shots will have to isolate for five days upon arrival in Hawaii at their own expense.
Currently, only American travelers can visit Hawaii with very few exceptions for international tourists. Tourism is regulated through the state’s Safe Travels program, where people can upload their vaccination records to the online portal ahead of their flight.
“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,” Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest newspaper.
He further clarified that the booster shot requirement or any other rule change would give travelers and members of the hospitality community several weeks’ notice, so those who already have trips booked will not yet be subject to the updated requirement. Ige also said that he is in touch with local hospitality partners around the islands about the possibility of requiring booster shots for people who attend public events and gatherings, but there are no such rules in place yet.
The CDC does not have any guidance about whether booster shots should be required for international or domestic travel. However, some countries and territories have started to mandate a third dose of a Covid vaccine for their residents and/or visitors. The city-state of Singapore is one of them. In early January, Singapore’s health minister announced that adult citizens who had gone more than 270 days since their second vaccine dose would need to have a booster in order to be considered “fully vaccinated” by the country’s standards.