An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska.

An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion) Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Large vaccine clinics to happen later this month

Clinics are being offered by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Nikiski Fire/OEM

At least three large COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been planned in the central peninsula for the month of January, including two offered by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and one offered by the Nikiski Fire Department in conjunction with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management.

Vaccine providers throughout the central peninsula have seen a high demand for COVID-19 vaccination appointments, with some booking fully within an hour of going live.

The two clinics being offered by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy will take place at Soldotna Prep School on Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at Cooper Landing School on Jan. 30 from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. As of Tuesday at 1 p.m., all appointments at the Soldotna Prep clinic and most appointments at the Cooper Landing clinic had been booked.

Justin Ruffridge, who owns Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, said Tuesday that the biggest benefits of hosting large vaccine clinics, aside from being able to vaccinate a lot of people, is that they allow for social distancing. Ruffridge said that though the public-facing scheduling system is a bit clunky, it works really well for the providers when the clinic actually happens.

At the Soldotna Prep School building for example, there are two doors, which allow people to enter through one and exit through another. Between the two clinics, Ruffridge said around 400 people will be able to be vaccinated, including 300 during the Soldotna Prep clinic and 100 at the Cooper Landing clinic.

When people arrive at the clinic location, they are instructed to wait in their vehicles until they are notified that it is their time to be vaccinated, either by text message or by email. This prevents people from congregating in waiting areas.

A third clinic hosted by the Nikiski Fire Department in partnership with the borough’s Office of Emergency Management is scheduled for Jan. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Peninsula Recreation Center in Nikiski.

Office of Emergency Management Emergency Manager Dan Nelson said Tuesday that around 200 people will be able to be vaccinated at the clinic, which Nikiski fire and EMT personnel as well as volunteers from the Borough Community Emergency Response Team are helping put on.

Nelson said Nikiski Fire is considered a provider on behalf of the OEM, and that OEM works in cooperation with public health on vaccine allocations to different areas throughout the borough “as needs arise.”

Those currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Alaska include people identified by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services in Phase 1a Tiers 1, 2 and 3 and Phase 1b Tier 1.

The tiers in Phase 1a include front-line health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, front-line EMS and fire service personnel frequently exposed to COVID patients, health care workers administering vaccines, and workers in health care settings who meet certain criteria. Phase 1b Tier 1 includes Alaskans who are 65 or older.

At all three clinics, people will be encouraged to schedule their appointment to receive their second dose of the vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which have efficacy rates of more than 90%, require two doses to be fully effective. Pfizer’s doses must be administered 21 days apart, while Moderna’s doses must be administered 28 days apart. All three central peninsula clinics are offering the Moderna vaccine, which are easier to store than the Pfizer vaccine.

Like other states, Alaska has seen a slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Since the first shipment of vaccines arrived in Alaska on Dec. 16, 29,029 initial doses have been administered statewide. For the months of December and January, the state received 114,800 doses, including 52,400 from Moderna and 62,300 from Pfizer. Additionally, 5,976 vaccination series have been completed statewide, meaning 5,976 people have received both of their doses.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Alaska can be found at covidvax.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
An area set up to administer doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska.
Large vaccine clinics to happen later this month

Clinics are being offered by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Nikiski Fire/OEM

Homer’s Bergen Knutson (left) and Toby Nevak (right) try to fend off Dimond’s Kaden Daniels during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game at the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Middle, high school sports resume

Middle and high school sport programs started back up this week as… Continue reading

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Tribe wins lawsuit in herring roe subsistence claim

Sitka Tribe of Alaska claimed state wasn’t providing “reasonable opportunity” in herring roe harvest.

Sanitization equipment is seen inside of a classroom at Kenai Middle School on Friday, Jan. 8 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
As in-person learning resumes, parents ask for more changes

Many called for allowing students in all grades to resume in-person learning five days a week or for eliminating mask requirements for student athletes while active.

Homer News file photo
Homer High School.
School announcements

School district risk level update and upcoming events

The Homer office of the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. (Courtesy photo Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles)
Cuts in governor’s budget would close DMV office in Homer

Policy analyst: DMV costs more to operate than it brings in

Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)
City to pay assessment fees on parcel eyed by moose habitat group

The Homer City Council delved into issues of land conservation at its… Continue reading

Most Read