HONOLULU (AP) — A public service announcement campaign reminds Hawaiians that when Hawaii was a kingdom, its rulers pushed people to get vaccinated against smallpox in the 1850s. The messaging comes as Hawaii grapples with a surge in COVID-19 cases, record high hospitalizations and stagnant vaccination rates. It’s aimed at Hawaiians, the Indigenous people of Hawaii, who are being hit hard by the virus after faring well earlier in the pandemic. Some Hawaiians say distrust of government stemming from the U.S.-backed 1893 overthrow of the monarchy is a big reason why vaccination rates are lagging.
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