Bjorn Miller, Pharm D (right) and Vallerie Card-King, L. CPht, (left) document and verify the batch numbers of the Moderna Vaccine at the Alaska VA Healthcare System. (Photo courtesy of Alaska VA Healthcare System)

Bjorn Miller, Pharm D (right) and Vallerie Card-King, L. CPht, (left) document and verify the batch numbers of the Moderna Vaccine at the Alaska VA Healthcare System. (Photo courtesy of Alaska VA Healthcare System)

6 peninsula locations to offer COVID vaccines to eligible individuals

Qualifications to receive the first dose are outlined by the state’s Phase 1a Tier 3 guidelines

People who are eligible to receive the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, as outlined by the state’s Phase 1a Tier 3 guidelines, can now schedule an appointment to be vaccinated at one of six locations on the Kenai Peninsula, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locator.

Phase 1a, Tier 3 includes workers in health care settings who are at highest risk of contracting COVID-19 and who are essential to the health care infrastructure. To qualify for this tier, workers must have direct patient contact or direct contact with infectious materials from patients. They must also provide essential services that cannot be offered remotely and provide a service that cannot be postponed without detrimental impact to a patient’s health outcome.

The Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee met and unanimously determined who would be included in Phase 1a, Tier 3 on Dec. 17.

Vaccinations for Phase 1a, Tier 1 and Phase 1a, Tier 2 began earlier this month.

Phase 1a, Tier 1 includes long-term care facility staff and residents and hospital-based front-line health care workers. Long-term care facilities include skilled nursing facilities, assisted living homes and Department of Corrections infirmaries providing care similar to that of assisted living.

Phase 1a, Tier 2 includes front-line EMS and Fire Service personnel frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients, community health aides/practitioners and health care workers providing vaccinations.

In determining which Alaskans receive the COVID vaccine and when, the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee considers recommendations from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and makes recommendations to the state. After the state reviews the allocation advisory committee’s recommendations, DHSS leadership and the Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force plan the implementation of those recommendations.

People who are not sure if they are included in Tier 3 can check their eligibility on DHSS website.

In Soldotna, appointments can be scheduled at Soldotna Professional Pharmacy or at Peninsula Community Health Services. At both locations, appointments can be made via phone or online. Appointments at Peninsula Community Health Services can also be made via email.

Soldotna Professional Pharmacy has availability on Jan. 4, 5, 14, 15, 18, 20 and 22. Peninsula Community Health Services has availability on Jan. 5, 7, 12, 14, 19 and 21. At Peninsula Community Health Services, a registration packet must be completed for appointment.

In Homer, appointments can be scheduled at South Peninsula Hospital or at SVT Health and Wellness – Homer. Appointments at South Peninsula Hospital can be made via an online survey and appointments at SVT can be made via phone.

South Peninsula Hospital has availability on Jan. 8 and 9. SVT Health and Wellness has availability on Jan. 12 and 13. People interested in going through SVT should allow 45 minutes to complete paperwork, receive their vaccine and wait a minimum of 15 minutes after being vaccinated.

In Seward, appointments can be scheduled at Seward Community Health Center or at Safeway Pharmacy. Appointments at Seward Community Health Center can be made via phone and appointments at Safeway can be made online.

Seward Community Health Center has availability on Jan. 7, 12, 13 and 14. Safeway has availability on Jan. 6, 13 and 20. Individuals going through Safeway should bring their insurance card and be prepared to wait 15-30 minutes after being vaccinated.

Carrs Safeway pharmacists began vaccinating front-line health care workers on Dec. 18, the same week that the first shipment of COVID vaccines arrived in Alaska. For the month of December, Alaska received 61,900 initial doses, including 35,100 initial doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine and 26,800 of Moderna’s vaccine. Those include allotments for the Indian Health Service but not for Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

Alaska VA Healthcare System’s Anchorage clinic received its first 600 doses of Moderna’s vaccine on Dec. 23. AVAHS vaccinated its first 10 employees on Tuesday and planned to vaccinate another 30 employees on Wednesday. AVAHS received a second shipment of 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday.

As of Dec. 29, 13,271 total COVID-19 vaccinations had been given in Alaska, including 12,478 Pfizer vaccinations and 793 Moderna vaccinations, according to DHSS website.

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

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

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