Alaska became the first state in the nation to open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adult residents on Tuesday.
In a prepared statement and at a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that all Alaskans age 16 and older are now able to get the vaccine. Alaska is the first state to remove all eligibility requirements for accessing the vaccine.
The Moderna vaccine and Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are authorized for people age 18 and older, while the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for those 16 and up.
“This historic step is yet another nationwide first for Alaska, but it should come as no surprise. Since day one, your response to the pandemic has been hands-down the best in the nation,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy in the press release. “I couldn’t be prouder of Alaska’s response. From being the first state to offer widespread testing, to maintaining one of the lowest mortality rates in the country, to rolling out vaccinations to every willing Alaskan, we got here by working together.”
Alaska continues to have one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country, according to the New York Times. The only state with a higher rate currently is New Mexico, where a reported 26% of the population has been vaccinated.
“It is a great day for Alaskans wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum in the press release. “I want to thank Governor Dunleavy for this opportunity and if Alaskans had any questions about vaccine eligibility and criteria, I hope today’s announcement clears it up for you, simply put, you are eligible to get the vaccine.”
According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, more than 23% of all Alaskans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 16% have been fully vaccinated.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must be taken in two separate doses, while the Janssen vaccine is administered in a single dose.
“A healthy community means a healthy economy,” Dunleavy said in the press release. “With widespread vaccinations available to all Alaskans who live or work here, we will no doubt see our economy grow and our businesses thrive.”
For more information or to sign up for a vaccination, call 907-646-3322 or visit the state website at covidvax.alaska.gov.
You can also check for appointments at any of the following local providers:
South Peninsula Hospital will hold its next open mass vaccine clinic in conjunction with the city’s Unified Command team on Friday, March 12 at Homer High School. The hospital is offering more than 500 doses at the clinic, and there are still some appointments available. You can sign up for the clinic at the hospital’s website, www.sphosp.org. Those without internet or who need assistance can call 907-435-3188.
Vaccines are not yet available through the hospital’s Homer Medical Center or South Peninsula Family Care Clinic. Anyone who has had their first dose of the vaccine does not need to call to schedule a second one. Their follow up dose was scheduled the day they got their first one.
The Safeway Pharmacy is offering vaccine appointments as doses are available. The store chain has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services to provide vaccines to customers. To sign up for a vaccine through the Safeway Pharmacy, visit www.safeway.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html.
Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware got an allocation of 100 doses from the state for the month of March. The pharmacy has two more days next week for which appointments can be made to get a first dose of the Moderna vaccine: Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16. Those interested can make an appointment on the store’s website, ulmersdrugandhardware.com, or by calling the pharmacy for assistance at 907-235-8594. The Moderna vaccine is being offered for people 18 and older.
SVT Health & Wellness continues to offer vaccines to its patients as it receives allocations from the state. Patients can call 907-226-2228 to be put on a list to receive the vaccine. The health care provider is owned and operated by the Seldovia Village Tribe, but its clinics in Seldovia, Homer and Anchor Point serve the communities at large. The clinics welcome new patients; a medical visit is required to establish care through SVT Health & Wellness.
Kachemak Medical Group is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people in the community, as it receives it allocations from the state. You do not have to be a current patient to receive it. To sign up for the vaccine, call Kachemak Medical Group at 907-235-7000 to be put on their list. As vaccine doses are received, the provider will call people and offer them appointments in the order they signed up. If the provider cannot reach a person on the list, they will go to the next name, but the person will remain on the list for a vaccine.
NTC Community Clinic in Ninilchik is offering the vaccine to its patients and to Ninilchik residents. As a tribally operated health care provider, the clinic gets part of its vaccine allocation from the state and part from the Indian Health Service. Ninilchik community members can call 907-567-3970 to sign up for the vaccine, and the clinic will notify them when it is available.
Reach Megan Pacer at email@example.com.