The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 shortly after it arrived at the South Peninsula Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

The Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 shortly after it arrived at the South Peninsula Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

State leads nation in COVID-19 vaccination

Where to get a vaccine locally, and how to sign up

Alaska continues to lead the nation when it comes to administering the COVID-19 vaccine, and opportunities for eligible Alaskans to get the shot continue to expand on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

According to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard, more than 128,000 people have gotten their first dose of the vaccine. That’s more than 17% of Alaskans, compared to the 12% of people vaccinated nationwide, according to vaccine trackers by the New York Times. More than 65,000 people in Alaska have completed their vaccination series.

On the Kenai Peninsula, state data shows that more than 8,800 people have gotten at least their first vaccine dose, which is 15% of the peninsula’s population. There have been a total of 13,052 vaccine doses administered on the peninsula.

Here on the southern peninsula, those numbers continue to grow as well as the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services opened up the next tier of eligible people last week. It includes teachers, support staff and child care workers, as well as those living in congregate settings like prisons and people aged 50 and older who have either a serious medical condition or an essential frontline job.

At a vaccine clinic held this past weekend that was mainly a follow up event to get local seniors their second doses of the Moderna vaccine, South Peninsula Hospital administered 830 doses over Friday and Saturday, according to Public Information Officer Derotha Ferraro. Of those, 705 were second doses for people finishing up their vaccination series, while 125 were first doses that were offered when the state opened up the next eligible tier.

So far, the hospital itself has administered 2,775 total doses of the vaccine. According to Ferraro, about 1,000 people have gotten both doses and been fully vaccinated.

Where can you get the vaccine?

South Peninsula Hospital continues to hold community vaccine clinics as it gets allocations from the state. The clinics are held at Christian Community Church and hosted by the hospital, the City of Homer, and Homer Public Health, which are all part of the city’s Unified Command team. Ferraro said in an email that the hospital will hopefully learn next week when to expect its state vaccine allocation for March.

“Our goal is to make appointments available Monday, March 1 at … noon for the next large vaccination event, tentatively planned for Friday, March 12,” she wrote in an email.

The hospital has requested 3,000 vaccines for its next allocation, “to allow for not only a community vaccine event, but also to begin offering vaccines daily by appointment at the SPH Covid Swab Site,” Ferraro wrote. “However, we can only open that service if the state gives us ample supplies.”

Check the hospital’s website sphosp.org for the most up to date information on vaccine clinics, or call the information line at 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.

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 any person in the eligible tiers 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 who are in the eligible tiers can call 907-567-3970 to sign up for the vaccine, and the clinic will notify them when it is available.

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 confirm that you’re eligible and sign up for a vaccine through the Safeway Pharmacy, visit www.safeway.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will host a vaccine clinic specifically for teachers and district staff on Feb. 26 at Christian Community Church with oversight by South Peninsula Hospital. Educators had until Tuesday to sign up for the clinic. There were about 100 unclaimed appointments that will be opened up to other eligible people starting at 10 a.m. this Friday, Feb. 19, according to Ferraro. Eligible people can sign up for them at the hospital’s website sphosp.org. For those without internet, phone assistance will be available at 907-435-3188. A wait list of up to 100 names will also be taken for this event when those appointments fill, Ferraro said.

To double check your eligibility, 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. Check provider websites frequently as appointments may open up due to cancellations or new allocations.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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