RN Rachel Verba (right) administers a dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to Dr. Chris Michelson (left) on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Bruce Richards/CPH)

RN Rachel Verba (right) administers a dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to Dr. Chris Michelson (left) on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Bruce Richards/CPH)

More than 1 in 5 Alaskans have at least 1 vaccine dose

Alaska continues to lead the nation in vaccine rollout

Alaska finished off the week the same way it started: leading the country in COVID-19 vaccine rollout. As of Friday, 20.8% of Alaska’s population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard. That’s compared to the nationwide percentage of 13.9%, according to NPR’s COVID vaccine tracker. The state with the second-highest percentage as of Friday was New Mexico at 19.8%.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 16,124 vaccine doses had been administered as of Friday, including 10,271 initial doses and 5,879 second doses. For the months of December, January and February, Alaska received an allocation of 174,400 pairs of vaccine, or 348,800 total doses including first and second doses.

State health officials announced during a Wednesday press briefing that 103,120 pairs of vaccine, or about 206,240 doses, were allocated to Alaska for the month of March 2021. That includes 60,760 doses for the state and 32,720 for Indian Health Service (IHS). Of the 60,760 doses allocated to the state, 32,760 are Pfizer and 28,000 are Moderna. Of the 32,720 allocated to IHS, 18,720 are Pfizer and 14,000 are Moderna. In addition to those allocations, the state is also receiving a supplemental February allocation of 9,640 pairs of vaccine, including 6,070 for the state and 3,570 for IHS

How to get vaccinated

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.

The City of Kenai is offering transportation to and from vaccine clinics located in Kenai in partnership with CARTS and Alaska Cab. The city council approved $5,000 for the program at their Jan. 20 meeting. 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.

As of Friday, people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Alaska included most health care providers, pre-K through 12th grade education staff, people 65 or older, people 50 or older with certain high-risk medical conditions and pandemic response staff among others. People interested in receiving their COVID vaccine can determine whether or not they are eligible to receive it at covidvax.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 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.

By the numbers

In all, 883 COVID-19 cases were reported in Alaska this week, a decrease from the number reported last week. 112 new cases were reported on Friday, 10 of which were reported among nonresidents. Three cases were reported on the Kenai Peninsula, including two in Kenai and one in Soldotna.

The state reported 19 new hospitalizations and no new deaths related to COVID-19 this week, bringing statewide totals to 1,277 and 290, respectively. As of Friday, there were 43 people hospitalized in Alaska due to COVID-19, including five who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Five of the patients were on ventilators.

As of Friday, 3.8% of all hospitalizations in Alaska 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. 20 and Feb. 26.

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