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This message was shared with the students, faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on January 14, 2021.


We know that many of you are asking when you can be vaccinated. The university is doing everything we can to expedite the process so we can drive COVID-19 out of our community and enable a safe return to substantial in-person instruction for fall 2021.

Vaccinations will be administered using the State of Hawaiʻi phased priorities, which are based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I am delighted to let you know that the most recent (January 8) updated DOH vaccination plan (PDF) prioritized post-secondary education teachers and support staff as essential workers within Phase 1B, for whom vaccination plans are unfolding. With some exceptions, most students will be part of Phase 2, which we expect to begin later in the spring or summer.

UH faculty and staff who wish to be vaccinated are asked to complete a short questionnaire. This is needed to help the state and UH with the planning and implementation of vaccine distribution.

Vaccination plans and locations will differ by island, but if you have any opportunity to be vaccinated, such as through your own health care provider, we encourage you to do so.

We know that there are some in the community who have concerns about the vaccines. We believe that any risks associated with receiving the vaccine are outweighed by the benefits to you, your family and the community. But the decision is yours, and if you have concerns, we urge you to seek out more information so you can weigh those risks for yourself. Here are some excellent resources from our state health department and the CDC.

While the vaccines provide the first glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel, we are still at high risk. Please continue to follow all safety guidelines in place, particularly those about wearing a face covering and refraining from unnecessary gatherings. And please download and utilize the free and privacy-preserving State of Hawaiʻi notification app, AlohaSafe Alert, which may tell you, anonymously and securely, if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The university is deeply committed to Hawaiʻi’s vaccination effort, and we are doing everything we can to make the vaccines available as quickly as possible. But as you are likely seeing reported by the media, this continues to be an evolving process. We will provide updates to the UH community on a regular basis as well as post the latest information and instructions on this UH website. If you have further questions, please email

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President

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