Following the emergency use authorization last week by the Food and Drug Administration of boosters for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, South Peninsula Hospital will offer two mass vaccine booster clinics over the next two weekends. This weekend’s clinic is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Homer High School Commons. A second clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, also in the commons, with times to be announced. Booster shots will be given by appointment for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and boosters also are offered daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. t0 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Janssen vaccines are offered only on Sundays and Tuesdays. Appointments are needed at any of the locations by visiting www.sphosp.org. See below for criteria.
The Ninilchik Tribal Council Community Health Clinic also offers a free pop-up testing and vaccination clinic from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday in Anchor Point at 33935 Sterling Highway next to the Cheeky Moose Laundromat. Walk-ins are welcome for testing and for Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen vaccines.
Homer saw an increase in the positive COVID-19 test rate last week, South Peninsula Hospital Public Information Officer and Director of Communications Derotha Ferraro wrote in an email. The rate went up to 10% from 8% last week.
The mass vaccine clinics come as the surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continues. Last Thursday, Alaska saw a record number of daily hospitalizations, with 242 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and another three considered persons under investigation. As of Tuesday’s report for Monday, Oct. 25, 2,749 Alaskans have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. The percentage of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is 20.4% — one fifth of all patients.
Alaska remains in the high alert level at 693.4 cases per 100,000 people. For Tuesday’s report, 749 new Alaskans tested positive as did four nonresidents, for 130,482 Alaskans and 5,214 nonresidents total. Ten new Alaska deaths were reported on Tuesday, none of them from the Kenai Peninsula, for a total of 688 Alaskans who have died.
On the Kenai Peninsula, for Tuesday’s report there were 19 new cases in Soldotna, 16 in Kenai, 13 in Homer, six in Anchor Point, four in Sterling and one in the Kenai Peninsula South.
For the reporting period of Oct. 19 through Oct. 25, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the southern Kenai Peninsula has seen 99 cases, with 66 for Homer, 21 for Anchor Point, 11 for the Kenai Peninsula South and one for Fritz Creek. That’s a slight increase over the 96 positive cases reported by DHSS for the week before.
According to the Kenai Peninsula School District’s COVID-19 dashboard, the southern peninsula on Wednesday had 707 cases per 100,000 or 99 actual compared to 900 cases per 100,000 or 334 actual for the central peninsula. The eastern peninsula has the lowest rate of cases per 100,000 at 196 or 10 actual.
South Peninsula Hospital has done 769 COVID-19 tests with 76 positive for the week of Oct. 20-26, Ferraro wrote in an email on Wednesday. That’s a 10% positivity rate. In the same time period there were 13 COVID-19 related visits to the emergency department. The hospital did 24 outpatient monoclonal antibody infusions and administered 405 vaccinations, including boosters. In the same time period, five new COVID-19 patients were admitted. Since July 1, the hospital has give 323 monoclonal antibody infusions.
At South Peninsula Hospital, because of the level of community spread of COVID-19, visitors are not allowed except for those with appointments. Long Term Care is open to approved visitors by appointment. One designated visitor per patient per stay is permitted for pediatric patients, obstetric patients, surgery patients and end of life care.
Officials encourage anyone with symptoms to test for COVID-19, despite vaccination status.
Testing is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the SPH COVID-19 clinic on Bartlett Street for people with symptoms, traveling, for pre-procedure screening and for exposure six days after exposure of after being at social gatherings.
SVT Health & Wellness offers testing to anyone at its three SVT Health & Wellness locations: 880 East End Road, Homer (226-2228); 72351 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point (226-2238), and 206 Main Street, Seldovia (907-435-3262).
Where to get vaccinated
Following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for anyone who is six months or more after their initial series of the Pfizer or Moderna series and are 65 years and older, age 18+ who live in long-term care settings, age 50 years and older with underlying medical conditions, or anyone who is at least two months after their Janssen vaccine.
Boosters are also available to anyone who is six months or more after their initial series of the Pfizer or Moderna series based on their individual health benefit and risk evaluation for individuals: age 18+ who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 exposure because of their work or live in high-risk settings or age 18 years and older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions.
Individuals should consider their own need for a booster, and consult with their Primary Care Provider if they have questions or concerns. There is ample supply, and plenty of opportunities to get a booster on an ongoing basis.
South Peninsula Hospital continues to offer walk-in vaccines daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4201 Bartlett Street, and by appointment at www.sphosp.org.
Vaccines also are offered by appointment at Homer Medical Clinic and the SPH Family Care Clinic. For more information at the Bartlett Street clinic, talk to your doctor or call 235-0235 for additional information.
To make appointments at Homer Medical Center, call 235-8586
To make appointments at the South Peninsula Family Care Clinic, call 235-0900. The Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen vaccines are offered.
Safeway – Homer, 90 Sterling Highway, offers clinics 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday by appointment or walk-ins. Call 226-1060 for appointments. The Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are offered.
Kachemak Medical Group, 4129 Bartlett Street, offers vaccines by appointment. Call 235-7000.
Ulmer’s Pharmacy, 3858 Lake Street, offers Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines by appointment of walk-ins. Call 235-7760.
Ninilchik Clinic, 15765 Kingsley Road, Ninilchik offers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines by appointment and Pfizer on demand. Call 907-567-3970.
SVT Health & Wellness offers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen and Moderna vaccines for established medical patients of the three SVT Health & Wellness locations: 880 East End Road, Homer (226-2228); 72351 Milo Fritz Ave., Anchor Point (226-2238), and 206 Main Street, Seldovia (907-435-3262).
Reach Michael Armstrong at email@example.com.