A sign on Friday, April 1, 2021, points the way to COVID-19 vaccines and testing at the South Peninsula Hospital testing and vaccine site on Bartlett Street in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A sign on Friday, April 1, 2021, points the way to COVID-19 vaccines and testing at the South Peninsula Hospital testing and vaccine site on Bartlett Street in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Anyone working or living in Alaska can get free vaccines at Spit or in town clinics

Vaccine effort is part of state’s ‘Sleeve’s Up for Summer’ campaign

As part of continued effors to make COVID-19 vaccines more available to Alaskans living or working on the southern Kenai Peninsula, South Peninsula Hospital, in coordination with the City of Homer,will offer a free, walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic on the Homer Spit next Friday. The clinic is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 7 at the Boathouse Pavilion at the top of Ramp 2 near the public restrooms. The single shot Janssen vaccine and the two-shot Pfizer vaccines will be offered.

According to a press release from SPH and the city, this clinic is open to everyone 16 years and older who lives or works in Alaska, but business owners, their employees and members of the sport and commercial fisheries are especially encouraged to attend. The May 7 clinic is part of Alaska’s Sleeve’s Up for Summer campaign and is “a celebration of community and businesses working together and rolling up our sleeves to put the pandemic behind us,” the press release said.

“Vaccination supports a fast and safe return of our economy by protecting the health of employees and eliminating the need to quarantine for two weeks after coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19,” according to the press release. “That matters because two weeks is a large part of our short summer season! Vaccines are the best assurance that the short summer season will not be impacted.”

No appointment and no ID is needed. Everyone who lives or works in Alaska is eligible for the vaccine, though 16 and 17 year olds require parental/guardian consent. If you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, a health provider will be available on site to discuss your concerns.

SPH continues to offer walk-in vaccines daily from noon-5 p.m. at 4201 Bartlett Street, and by appointment at www.sphosp.org. Free COVID-19 testing is offered at this site daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, talk to your doctor or call 235-0235 for additional information.

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services data on the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows that as of Tuesday, on the peninsula 19,708 people have received at least one dose and 16,753 have been fully vaccinated, with 34,992 doses fully administered. That’s 40.5% who have received at least one dose and 35.6% who are fully vaccinated.

Statewide as of Tuesday there have been 292,657 people in Alaska who have received at least one dose and 252,000 people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for a total of 513,012 doses administered in Alaska. That’s 49.7% of Alaskans who have received one dose and 43.2% of Alaskans who are fully vaccinated.

On the Kenai Peninsula, 65.1% of Alaskans age 65 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 62% of seniors are fully vaccinated. For all ages 16 and older on the peninsula, 36,616 doses have been administered, with 20,111 receiving at least one dose and 17,970 fully vaccinated.

According to the state’s weekly case update for April 18-24, Alaska is the 12th most vaccinated state.

Additionally, fully vaccinated people no longer need to quarantine if they get exposed to a case of COVID-19, as long as they remain asymptomatic. To read the full CDC guidelines, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html. The CDC also now says that fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people withour wearing a mask and outdoors without wearing face masks except in crowded settings or venues.

For the month of April, South Peninsula Hospital Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro said the hospital is expecting 2,300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Alaska was the first state to open up COVID-19 vaccines to all residents age 16 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people age 16 and older, while the Moderna vaccine and the Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are able to be used on people 18 and older.

To see all the state’s options for health care providers offering the vaccine, or to find a specific provider, visit the state’s website at dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/Vaccineappointments.aspx.

Where can you get the vaccine locally?

South Peninsula Hospital Call for an individual appointment for Pfizer vaccination at the Covid Vaccine and Test Clinic on Bartlett street. Walk-in vaccinations are available noon-5 p.m. daily. You can sign up 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.

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.

TC Community Clinic in Ninilchik is now offering the vaccine to anyone. Those interested can call 907-567-3970 to be put on the list to receive the vaccine.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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