A sign is posted directing drivers to a vaccine clinic held at Beacon Occupational Health in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

A sign is posted directing drivers to a vaccine clinic held at Beacon Occupational Health in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna to offer walk-in vaccine clinic with state grant funds

The state has about $37.5 million available for the program and is requiring 10% of the funds from each grant to be used to address health equity.

The City of Soldotna will partner with Soldotna Professional Pharmacy to offer walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics using grant money awarded by the state, city officials announced during a Wednesday meeting of the Soldotna City Council.

City officials first floated the idea of offering a walk-in clinic last month when they had a sense of how much money they were eligible to receive under the COVID-19 Community Funding Program, which is being offered by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to help municipalities around the state expand their COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts. Funds are available on a reimbursement basis and must be used between March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

The state has about $37.5 million available for the program and is requiring 10% of the funds from each grant to be used to address health equity in the community. DHSS defines health equity as making sure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

COVID-19 vaccinations have plateaued on the Kenai Peninsula in recent weeks. Health officials estimate that between 70% and 80% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity. Borough health officials expect vaccine demand on the peninsula will drop off once about 50% of people are vaccinated. As of Thursday, state data showed that about 34.4% of people eligible to be vaccinated on the peninsula were fully vaccinated.

In selecting a walk-in vaccine clinic as the project to which they wanted to direct their grant money, city administration said it will make vaccines more accessible to people in the community who need flexible and readily available access to vaccines. Additionally, people using the walk-in clinics will not have to have access to a computer and the internet to schedule an appointment in advance.

In all, the city can spend about $195,000 in purchases eligible for reimbursement. The city expects most of the funds will be spent on clinic operating costs, including payroll for medical and administrative staff, lease or rental fees for the facility, and materials and supplies necessary to administer vaccines, among others. Money will also be used to advertise the clinic to the community.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution, with council member Justin Ruffridge abstaining. Ruffridge also owns Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, which has worked closely with city and borough officials to host large-scale vaccine clinics for the community.

Queen said that while those clinics were necessary and effective in meeting initial demand for vaccines on the peninsula, she thinks clinics capable of vaccinating hundreds in a single day will be “phased out” moving forward.

“We’re entering a new stage, I believe, of community vaccination efforts where we need a new strategy, and the new strategy that we are proposing [and] that I think is going to be effective is further reducing barriers and increasing convenience for folks wanting to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” Queen said.

Council member Dave Carey was one of many who voiced support for the clinic and highlighted the success of those previously offered in Soldotna.

“This is excellent,” Carey said. “I really appreciate it … this is an excellent resolution and, again, it shows the good work that you’re doing.”

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine have efficacy rates of more than 90% and take two doses to be fully effective. Pfizer doses must be administered 21 days apart, while Moderna’s doses must be administered 28 days apart.

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 council’s full meeting can be viewed at soldotna.org.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

tease
House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

The Kenai Courthouse as seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Clam Gulch resident convicted of 60 counts for sexual abuse of a minor

The conviction came at the end of a three-week trial at the Kenai Courthouse

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets in Seward, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (screenshot)
Borough awards contract for replacement of Seward High School track

The project is part of a bond package that funds major deferred maintenance projects at 10 borough schools

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen, right, participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee talks purpose of potential change, possible calendar

The change could help curb costs on things like substitutes, according to district estimates

A studded tire is attached to a very cool car in the parking lot of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Studded tire removal deadline extended

A 15-day extension was issued via emergency order for communities above the 60 degrees latitude line

A sign for Peninsula Community Health Services stands outside their facility in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

Jordan Chilson votes in favor of an ordinance he sponsored seeking equitable access to baby changing tables during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs ordinance seeking to increase access to baby changing tables

The ordinance requires all newly constructed or renovated city-owned and operated facilities to include changing tables installed in both men’s and women’s restrooms

Most Read