Alaska has made its effort to distribute doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this month, but only a fraction of the people in the state have received it so far.
At various levels and phases, much is still being determined about who will receive the vaccine – and when – and the state remains in the initial phase of distribution, as the number of available vaccine doses is limited.
As of Friday, Alaska has administered approximately 11,800 first doses of the vaccine from manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer. In total, the state has about 60,000 doses of the vaccine available for December, but the number of vaccinations available for January is not yet clear, officials said on a call Wednesday.
Here’s what you can expect in the future.
The first phase of vaccination is known as Phase 1A and in Alaska it is further divided into three separate levels.
The first two levels included those starting the vaccination this month. This included residents and staff at long-term care facilities, hospital-based health care workers, emergency personnel, community helpers and people doing vaccinations.
The third group of people in the first phase of the state will start vaccinations next month. Based on recommendations from a state funding committee, the third tier includes people working in health care institutions who are most at risk of getting COVID-19 and is also considered essential to the health care system, who regularly do work that cannot do not be delayed or done remotely.
They must also meet the following criteria, which are listed by the state:
• Have direct contact with patients, or have direct contact with infectious materials of patients; and
• Provide essential services in a healthcare environment that cannot be offered remotely or telecommuted; and
• Provide a service in a healthcare environment that cannot be delayed without harming the patient’s short-term or long-term health outcomes.
Those who fall into this category can sign up Wednesday to receive the vaccine, officials said last week. The vaccinations will be by appointment only and will take place on a first-come, first-served basis, Tari O’Connor told the Department of Health in a recent call. The vaccines will be available at clinics across the state and their locations will be posted online this week. The clinics include sites such as community health centers, hospitals and pharmacies across the state.
The federal advisory committee recommended that people older than 74 and essential workers be included as part of Phase 1B, while Phase 1C would include people 65 to 74, as well as ages 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions and other essential workers who are not. is not included during phase 1B.
Phases 1B and 1C include a significant number of people – far more than the number of available vaccine doses, Tessa Walker Linderman, head of the state’s vaccine task force, said last week. This is where the state committee will be helpful in determining who specifically should be next in line. While the federal committee issues broader guidelines, Alaska’s committee divides them into smaller groups.
Those interested in providing input on how the vaccines should be distributed in Alaska can do so Monday during a public meeting scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. You can submit written comments or sign up in advance to make a 1-minute comment during the meeting.