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 8,000 vaccinated on the peninsula, over 120,000 statewide

15.9% of Alaska’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

More than 120,000 Alaskans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, representing roughly 15.9% of the state’s population. 54,739 people had already received both 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. According to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, 10,805 doses had been administered in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, including 8,020 initial doses and 2,785 second doses.

Alaska currently leads the nation in the percentage of the population that has received at least one dose. 15.9% of Alaska’s population has received at least one dose, according to NPR’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker. That is compared to the nationwide percentage of 10.5%.

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.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced last week the eligibility of a new group of Alaskans to receive the COVID vaccine that includes pre-K through 12th grade teachers, people age 50 and older with certain high-risk medical conditions and at-risk pandemic response staff, among others. Other groups eligible to receive the vaccine in Alaska include most health care workers, people age 65 or older, long-term care residents and staff.

People can check whether or not they are eligible to receive the vaccine and learn more about vaccination efforts in Alaska at covidvax.alaska.gov.

As of Friday, the Kenai Walmart’s pharmacy is the latest of 14 locations on the Kenai Peninsula offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible groups. 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.

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.

Case counts

144 new COVID-19 cases were announced in Alaska on Friday, including 10 among nonresidents. In total, 1,090 cases were reported in the state this week, a decrease from last week’s numbers. The Kenai Peninsula Borough reported 35 new cases this week, including nine on Friday.

Among residents and nonresidents, the state also reported six new hospitalizations and one new death, for a total of 1,230 and 282, respectively. As of Friday, there were 35 people in Alaska who were hospitalized due to COVID-19, including four who were considered persons under investigation for the disease. Five of the patients were on ventilators. As of Friday, 3.3% of all hospitalizations in Alaska were related 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. 6 and Feb. 12.

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