A sticker given out at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic hosted by the Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska, is seen on March 13, 2021. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

A sticker given out at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic hosted by the Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska, is seen on March 13, 2021. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Vaccination rates climb

As of Friday afternoon, 53.7% of Alaskans 16 and up had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Friday afternoon, 53.7% of Alaskans 16 and up had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly half of Alaska residents 16 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough 45% of residents 16 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while just over 40% were fully vaccinated.

Those rates come a week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced approval for use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15, as well as new guidance for the use of face masks indoors by people who are fully vaccinated.

DHSS reported 438 new resident and nonresident COVID-19 cases in Alaska over the past week, including 66 on Friday. On the Kenai Peninsula, which was considered to be at “intermediate” risk on Friday, 19 cases have been reported over the last week, including two reported on Friday.

Many COVID-19 vaccine appointments were available on the central peninsula as of Friday, offering various vaccine brands at multiple locations. Kenai Public Health Center is offering vaccines at clinics on May 25, 26, 27, as well as many days in June.

The public health center will also offer Johnson & Johnson vaccinations at Wednesday Market in Soldotna Creek Park on May 26, June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23 and June 30. The City of Seward announced last week that Seward Community Health Center will begin offering the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15. More vaccine appointments can be scheduled at myhealth.alaska.gov.

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.

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 through alternative entities can be found on the map by clicking the icon of the preferred provider. Appointments at Walmart can be scheduled at walmart.com/covidvaccine.

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, Dena’ina Health Clinic, 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 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.

In Ninilchik, NTC Community Clinic is providing testing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. 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.

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