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)

More than 1 in 4 Alaskans 16 and older have 1 vaccine dose

Alaska continues to lead the nation in vaccine rollout

Alaska reported another strong week for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said that as of Thursday morning, 21% of all Alaskans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 14.5% are fully vaccinated. Among Alaskans 16 and older, Zink said, 28% have received at least one dose and 18.7% are fully vaccinated. Zink said that the state is tracking vaccines among people 16 and above because among the three vaccines 16 is the youngest age for which any vaccine can be offered.

The state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Monitoring Dashboard said that as of Friday, 11,292 of 47,102 Kenai Peninsula Borough residents 16 and older — about 24% — had already received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Among borough residents 65 and older, 6,095 of 11,317 residents — about 53.9% — had already received at least one dose.

That is compared to the nationwide percentage of the population who have received at least one dose, which NPR’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker estimates is about 16.3%.

More than 575,000 individual doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been allocated to Alaska since last December. That number includes allocations for Indian Health Services (IHS) and to pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccination, to which 10,480 pairs of vaccine had been allocated as of Friday.

Through that program, Alaska’s pharmacy partners are Walmart Inc., Albertsons Companies, Inc. and Walgreens, meaning they receive vaccine allocations in addition to the state’s allocation. Through that program, the Kenai Walmart is able to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to people eligible to receive it. Appointments at Walmart can be scheduled at walmart.com/covidvaccine.

As of Friday, people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Alaska include: people 55 and older; people 16 and older who are CISA-defined essential workers; those considered high risk due to health conditions; those living in multigenerational household or congregate settings or communities with limited plumbing; those helping someone 65 or older get vaccinated; pre-K through 12th grade education staff members; those providing daily support to a “medically fragile” person or interacting with people living in congregate settings as part of their job.

How to get vaccinated

As of Friday at 12 p.m., there were more than 650 vaccine appointments available for three clinics offered by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy at Soldotna Prep School on March 13. The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine will be offered during appointments scheduled between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The Moderna vaccine will be offered during appointments scheduled between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered during appointments scheduled between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

People who would like assistance with scheduling an appointment to be vaccinated can call the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center. The center operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 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.

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 with a provider that does not use the state’s scheduling system can be found on the provider map by clicking on the icon of the provider through which people would like to schedule an appointment. Appointments at Walmart can be scheduled at walmart.com/covidvaccine.

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.

By the numbers

Over the past week, 1,019 COVID cases were reported in Alaska, an increase from the number of cases reported last week. That includes more than 100 reported among nonresidents and 36 reported in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, where seven new cases were reported on Friday. Affected peninsula communities include Anchor Point with three cases, Kenai with one case, Other North with one case, Soldotna with one case and Sterling with one case.

Ten new hospitalizations and two new deaths were reported over the past week, bringing statewide totals to 1,293 and 305, respectively. Both deaths were reported among Alaska residents, bringing the total number of resident deaths to 301. As of Friday, there were 33 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Alaska, including five who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Two of the patients were on ventilators. 2.9% of all hospitalizations statewide were due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 testing locations on the Kenai 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 Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

This information is based on data reported by Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services between Feb. 28 and March 5.

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