A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)

Voices of the Peninsula: Vaccines, masks can help our community get back to normal

An open letter from members of the medical community.

Citizens of the Kenai Peninsula,

We are the medical professionals who serve you in times of need. We each have dedicated our lives to taking care of our community and feel compelled to provide you with the following evidence-based update on our local public health situation regarding COVID-19.

As delta variant cases are declining in most other parts of the United States, the cases and deaths in Alaska have been rising substantially. We are currently in the midst of an unprecedented surge in cases statewide.

While we were leading in vaccination rates in the early days of the pandemic, today several hospitals statewide are now unable to care for everyone due to overwhelming numbers of patients. Unfortunately, that extends to those who need medical attention for COVID or any other reasons because of overcrowding due to the recent COVID surge. This has led to critical care triage being announced in Anchorage, which more strictly rations care than any physician would desire.

We recognize that there is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to COVID. At this time, however, available evidence overwhelmingly shows that vaccination is safe and reduces the risk of spread, severe disease, and death from COVID with limited side effects. As physicians we have overwhelmingly been vaccinated ourselves and feel that improving our community vaccination rate is a crucial factor in our ability to put this pandemic behind us. The research on this is sound, and after reviewing the evidence we as a medical community strongly endorse vaccination for all eligible patients 12 years and older with no identifiable contraindications.

Unfortunately, the delta variant has also changed the local situation substantially due to vastly increased rates of infection across all age groups. In solidarity with the CDC and multiple subspecialty guidelines, we also agree with recommendations for universal masking while local cases are high as a best practice to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and get back to our normal lives as quickly as possible.

We, the below named physicians and health care providers, stand together in support of this message.

Dr. Eric Anding

Dr. John Andreshak

Dr. Christopher Beaudoin

Dr. Bobbie Behrens

Dr. William Bell

Dr. Nicholas Berlon

Dr. Michael Blake

Dr. John Bramante

Dr. Amy Bukac

Dr. Andrew Butki

Dr. Robert Cadoff

Dr. Heather Callum

Dr. Elizabeth Cummings

Dr. Elizabeth Ehama

Dr. Maureen Filipek

Dr. Paula Godfrey

Dr. Craig Humphreys

Dr. Daniel Hyman

Dr. Kristina James

Dr. Kristen Jessen

Dr. William Kelley

Dr. Jesse Kincaid

Dr. Henry Krull

Dr. Kristina Lacy

Dr. Lori Lindsay

Dr. Isaac Lopez

Dr. Ned Magen

Dr. Jeff McDonald

Dr. Kristin Mitchell

Dr. Tyler Moffett

Dr. Gregg Motonaga

Dr. Darren Mullins

Dr. Gail Pokorney

Dr. Michael Reyes

Dr. Carolyn Roloff

Dr. Megan Roosen-Runge

Dr. Jessica Sieling

Dr. Allison Smith

Dr. Giulia Tortora

Dr. Christina Tuomi

Dr. Stephen Wahl

Dr. Rachel Walden

Dr. Angus Warren

Dr. James Zirul

EMS Captain Harrison Deever

Nurse Albi Tatum

Nurse Practitioner Ed Gonzalez

Nurse Practitioner Rachael Kincaid

Nurse Practitioner Carrie Warren

Physician Assistant Christine Pratt

Physician Assistant Susan Reed

Pharmacist Molly Hannigan

Pharmacist Meredith Mayfield

Pharmacist Justin Ruffridge

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