A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska hits 40% fully vaccinated

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 35.3% of Alaskans 16 and up are fully vaccinated.

The state hit another milestone this weekend, reporting on Monday that a total of 40% of eligible Alaskans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s almost 233,000 people.

That’s compared to the 47.7% of Alaskans who have already received at least one dose. For seniors 65 years and older, 70.4% have already been fully vaccinated statewide.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 35.3% of Alaskans 16 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 40.4% have received at least one dose. Over half of peninsula seniors — 61.1% — are fully vaccinated. Across all age groups, almost one third — 28.2% — of peninsula residents are fully vaccinated.

Out of 11 Alaska regions, the Kenai Peninsula Borough ranks number nine in vaccine rollout, according to state data updated on Monday. The Southeast Region – Northern leads the state at a 62.6% vaccination rate for those 16 and older.

Over the weekend Alaska dropped to No. 3 in the nation for vaccine rollout at 32.1% across all ages, according to NPR. The state now trails Maine and New Mexico, which are both at 32.3%. An estimated 25.4% of the country is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to CNN, the United States is ranked No. 11 worldwide in vaccine rollout. The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar leads the world with a 90.2% vaccination rate.

New cases

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced 449 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 63,675. Alaska remains at high-alert level, with 22.82 cases per 100,000 people, which is slightly up from last Monday.

The new case count includes 46 on the Kenai Peninsula — more than double the number of cases reported last Monday. Affected peninsula communities include Soldotna with 17, Kenai with 10, Homer with seven, Seward with five, Sterling with three, Nikiski with two, and one each in Anchor Point and the Kenai Peninsula Borough North.

Alaska also reported 129 new cases in Anchorage, 81 in Wasilla, 47 in Palmer, 39 in Fairbanks, 15 in Eagle River, 13 in both Juneau and North Pole, seven in Chugiak, six in Delta Junction, five in Ketchikan, five in Petersburg, five in Valdez, four in Wrangell, three in Kodiak, two each in Big Lake, the Denali Borough and Sitka, and one each in Bethel, the Copper River Census Area, the Dillingham Census Area, Houston, Kotzebue, the North Slope Borough, Utqiagvik and the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.

In addition, another 17 new nonresident COVID cases were reported on Monday.

DHSS announced three new hospitalizations and zero new deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 1,426 and 329. As of Monday, there were 39 total COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with one of the patients on a ventilator. The number of overall hospitalizations and patients on ventilators is slightly down from last Monday.

Getting vaccinated

A total of 33 COVID-19 vaccination appointments were available across multiple central peninsula clinics as of Monday, according to PrepMod, the online portal through which appointments can be scheduled. PrepMod can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.

A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov. Many providers are using the state’s program to schedule appointments, which can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov. Instructions on how to schedule an appointment through alternative entities can be found on the map by clicking the icon of the preferred provider. Appointments at Walmart can be scheduled at walmart.com/covidvaccine.

People who would like assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment can call the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center. The center operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The central peninsula call center can be reached at 907-262-4636. The Homer call center can be reached at 907-235-4636. The Seward call center can be reached at 907-224-4636.

The City of Kenai is offering transportation to and from vaccine clinics located in Kenai in partnership with CARTS and Alaska Cab. Rides will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the budgeted funds run out. In order to participate in the program, people must be going from an address located in Kenai to a clinic in Kenai and will need to provide proof of vaccination.

COVID-19 testing locations on the peninsula

On the central peninsula, testing is available at Capstone Family Clinic, K-Beach Medical, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, Central Peninsula Urgent Care, Peninsula Community Health Services, Urgent Care of Soldotna, the Kenai Public Health Center and Odyssey Family Practice. Call Kenai Public Health at 907-335-3400 for information on testing criteria for each location.

In Homer, testing is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the lower level of South Peninsula Hospital’s Specialty Clinic as well as through SVT Health & Wellness clinics in Homer, Seldovia and Anchor Point. Call ahead at the hospital at 907-235-0235 and at the SVT clinics at 907-226-2228. Testing is also available at Homer Public Health Center daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Ninilchik, NTC Community Clinic is providing testing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The testing is only for those traveling, symptomatic, needing testing for medical procedures, or with a known exposure after seven days. Only 20 tests will be offered per day. To make an appointment to be tested at the NTC Community Clinic, call 907-567-3970.

In Seward, testing is available at Providence Seward, Seward Community Health Center, Glacier Family Medicine and North Star Health Clinic.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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