Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula continue the drive to get as many eligible Alaskans vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Tuesday, almost 30% of eligible Kenai Peninsula residents have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
In a new development, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now say that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are proving in real-world conditions to be highly effective in reducing the risk of infection for COVID-19, and not just in reducing the risk of serious illness or death.
In a press release on Monday, the CDC announced the preliminary results from a study that was done of almost 4,000 health care workers and first responders who received the vaccines from Dec. 14, 2020, to March 13.
“Results showed that following the second dose of vaccine (the recommended number of doses), risk of infection was reduced by 90 percent two or more weeks after vaccination. Following a single dose of either vaccine, the participants’ risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 was reduced by 80 percent two or more weeks after vaccination,” the press release announced.
“This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky. “… These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”
DHSS data on the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard shows that as of Tuesday, on the peninsula 16,426 people have received at least one dose and 11,547 have been fully vaccinated, with 27,822 doses fully administered. That’s 27.9% who have received at least one dose and 19.6% who are fully vaccinated.
Statewide, there have been 234,832 people in Alaska who have received at least one dose and 163,850 people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for a total of 402,3341 doses administered in Alaska. That’s 31.5% of Alaskans who have received one dose and 22.2% of Alaskans who are fully vaccinated.
Alaska continues to be a leading state in terms of its rate of vaccination, according to New York Times reporting, which shows the only states with higher rates of vaccination are New Mexico, Connecticut, South Dakota and Maine.
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.
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 and 100 Janssen doses from Johnson & Johnson.
A mass vaccination clinic for the single-dose Janssen vaccine is scheduled for Saturday, April 10, at Homer High School. At noon Thursday, the hospital will be offering 50 appointments for that clinic. Individual appointments for the Pfizer vaccine are available at the Covid Vaccine and Test Clinic on Bartlett street. Several dates are available in April.
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 has announced its next mass vaccine clinic for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 10. Call for an individual appointment for Pfizer vaccination at the Covid Vaccine and Test Clinic on Bartlett street. Sign up starts at noon Thursday. Several dates are available in April. 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.