A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, 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, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Public health to offer vaccines on demand starting Monday

People who are homebound or groups of at least three people can request a COVID-19 vaccine administrator come to them.

Small groups and individuals on the central peninsula who are homebound can take advantage of a new mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic offered by Kenai Public Health starting Monday.

The program allows people who are homebound or who have groups of at least three people, such as at a business or a church, to request that a COVID-19 vaccine administrator come to them instead of scheduling an appointment at a local clinic.

Kenai Public Health Nurse Manager Leslie Felts said Friday that Kenai Public Health is looking specifically for groups of people because each vaccine vial contains multiple doses and needs to be stored at controlled temperatures. A 15-30 minute waiting period is required after vaccines are administered. The type of vaccine offered for mobile clinics will depend on availability.

Felts said the expansion of mobile clinics conducted by Kenai Public Health beyond the central peninsula will depend on the level of response the program receives. People interested in taking advantage of the mobile vaccine clinic can call Kenai Public Health at 907-335-3400.

The new program comes days after the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that the state would receive more than 160,000 pairs of vaccine — or about 320,000 individual doses — for the month of April. The new allocation is in addition to more than 575,000 individual doses the state has received since last December.

More than 40% — 41.4% — of Alaskans 16 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday. The rates are higher for Alaska’s seniors. More than 70% of Alaska residents 65 and older — 72.2% — had received one dose and 64.6% were fully vaccinated as of Friday.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 16,837 of 47,102 residents 16 and older — about 35.75% — had already received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday. 7,019 of 11,317 borough residents 65 and older — about 62.02% — 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 30%. NPR notes that they track vaccines among total populations, which includes children ineligible to be vaccinated.

Find a clinic

Six COVID-19 vaccination clinics on the central peninsula had appointments available as of Friday at 4:30 p.m., including several large-scale clinics and two offering Janssen’s — also known as Johnson & Johnson’s — single-dose vaccine. That’s according to PrepMod, the online portal through which appointments can be scheduled. PrepMod can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.

Fred Meyer will hold four small clinics with the capacity to vaccinate 10 people each, on April 5, 6, 7 and 9 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. All four clinics will offer the Moderna vaccine. The Kenai Fire Department will hold a clinic at Beacon Occupational Health on April 10 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and will offer the single-dose Janssen vaccine. Soldotna Professional Pharmacy will hold a clinic at Soldotna Prep School on April 10 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and will offer the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

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.

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 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 March 27 and April 2.

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