COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

More than 1,500 new COVID cases over the past week

The state also reported 13 new deaths

The state Department of Health and Social Services on Wednesday reported a total of 1,526 new COVID-19 cases from April 13 through April 19.

The state also reported a total of 20 COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska, with five of those patients on ventilators, and 13 new deaths.

All of the new COVID deaths occurred in patients 60 and older but one, a female Wasilla resident in her 30s.

Officials recommend all eligible Alaskans be up to date on their COVID vaccines to minimize the impact on communities.

As of Wednesday, 64.7% of Alaskans 5 and older were considered fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the DHSS. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, that average was at 50.2%.

Booster shots are recommended, whether or not a person has already contracted the virus and despite elapsed time since the completion of the primary series.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for everyone 5 years and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines are approved for anyone 18 and older.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending Pfizer boosters for anyone 12 and older at least five months after the primary series. Additionally, Moderna boosters are recommended for anyone 18 and older at least six months after a primary series.

Janssen boosters are approved for anyone 18 and older at least two months after initial vaccination, although DHSS officials say the Janssen shot isn’t the preferred vaccine because of risks of blood clotting and less robust protection against COVID. The state recommends people with a primary Janssen vaccine to get either a Pfizer or Moderna booster.

The CDC also updated its COVID booster information last month, and authorized additional doses for certain groups.

For those 50 years and older who are up to date with their primary series and first booster, another dose of either Pfizer or Moderna is authorized four months after the initial booster dose. In this category, a person with three vaccines of any combination of Pfizer or Moderna is now eligible for a fourth dose, and those with a single Janssen shot and booster can now receive a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna.

In addition, certain immunocompromised individuals can also receive another Pfizer or Moderna shot four months after their last booster. This would include three shots for a primary series and two additional booster doses.

A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.

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

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