UHERO Public Health Report: Health Effects and Views of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i

Carl Bonham, Daniela Bond-Smith, Ruben Juarez, Colin Moore, COVID-19, Health, Reports

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse impacts in the state of Hawai‘i beyond the direct effects of COVID-19 itself, including indirect effects on mental health, food security, job security, housing, poverty, etc. In order to address these adversities systematically, the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization (UHERO) is developing infrastructure to inform the design and execution of public health programs in the state for COVID-19 and other disasters while providing valuable data to our communities to make informed decisions. To this goal, we have created a cohort of over 2,000 individuals in the state of Hawai‘i to collect rapid monthly surveys about individuals’ health and social factors, attitudes, and behaviors. This cohort will be followed longitudinally. 

As Hawai‘i is experiencing yet another COVID-19 surge, we report the first results of the cohort collected in late May 2022. Highlights of the report illustrate the negative impacts that COVID-19 had in almost 2 in 3 adults in the state, from mental health, food security, job security and housing. It also estimates that almost 1 in 3 adults in Hawai‘i infected with COVID-19 experience Long-COVID. Moreover, it estimates that 96% of adults in the state have some degree of immunity to the virus due to infection or vaccination, and characterizes the unvaccinated individuals in the state.

Watch the latest UHERO Focus about the report here:

8 thoughts on “UHERO Public Health Report: Health Effects and Views of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i”

  1. Michael Roberts

    This is a really useful report.

    I wonder if you might consider reporting, perhaps in addition to the raw numbers, weighted values that take account of the non-representativeness of the sample. For example, the Filipino population is clearly under-represented, as are people who are less educated. Since these factors correlate with trust, vaccination status, and positivity for COVID-19, some of the statistics might look a bit different if the sample is weighted to match the population.

    I realize that this can be tricky and that there can still be bias from such adjustments, but I suspect they might be somewhat less biased. I gather that the unvaccinated and distrustful are far less likely to respond to a survey like this; it’s a tough situation.

    I found it fascinating that so many here appear to be boosted and double-boosted relative to statistics that I have seen for the national population. Based on national CDC statistics on hospitalizations and mortality of people boosted and double-boosted, I think this bodes very well for the State’s progress. See, for example, this link:


    It shows that the mortality rate for those aged 50 and over and fully vaccinated, but not boosted, is 42 times higher than those who are double boosted, and those with a single booster have 4 times the mortality rate as those who are double boosted. There may be selection issues biasing these risk differences, but I’d guess that could go either way. Boosters look very effective!

    Given the especially powerful influence of being double-boosted, and the fact that so many are double-boosted in your sample, I wonder if you might do more to break out the double-boosted from the single boosted.

    1. I took the 2nd boster in later September 2022, before departing for a bowling tournament in Las Vegas. I arrived home on 6 Oct 2022. Health was good no problems, but two weeks later I encounter a bout of flu, which my wife got first. We didn’t isolate, and I ended getting sick for about 4 days. No body aches, mostly running nose and mucus. We did take home covid test which was negative, then took another covid test at a site at Kaneohe Safeway which also negative. My wife took the flu shot when she took the boostetr, I did not take the flu shot and haven’t for several years.

      1. i got both boosters and new one this year ..I’m fine no symptoms.
        I recommended to get it protect yourself. its safe save lives..

      2. Thank you! We have some interesting results on flu shot uptake in the second UHERO Public Health report; please stay tuned!

  2. There has been a fair amount of evidence that the Covid vaccines are not as effective as stated. Yet where are the studies that tract side effects, deaths, serious complications as the result of the vaccines themselves? I am meeting a fair amount of individuals who are experiencing rashes, hives as they take more and more boosters. What of myocarditis claims among male youths? That’s what we really want to know. Just how safe are these vaccines and have they been tested enough?

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jay! It is important moving forward for us to evaluate the most up-to-date research studying the efficacy and side effects of new vaccines and booster shots, as well as the long-term impacts of COVID-19 infections. While a large-scale evaluation of the vaccines’ side effects is beyond the scope of this report, this is a very interesting question that we may consider looking at more closely in future reports. The CDC has a thorough Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to track the side effects and long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. The consensus continues to find that the vaccines are still largely effective and safe, particularly in comparison to the known side effects of COVID-19 and to those suffering from long COVID. While these vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infection, our results – along with most similar studies – find that being vaccinated and receiving booster shots decreases the likelihood of developing long COVID and decreases the length of time that these symptoms persist. We expect to have an updated report in the coming weeks to look closer at these and other questions. We look forward to continuing to study the impacts in Hawai`i and gaining more insight into these long-term effects.

      CDC side effects report: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html
      CDC long COVID report: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html

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