What you need to know about getting the COVID-19 vaccine

As Alaskans 65+ and frontline workers outside of health care are “on deck” for the vaccine, here’s what you need to know, for now
A health care worker receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Providence Alaska Medical Center on Dec....
A health care worker receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Providence Alaska Medical Center on Dec. 16, 2020. (Alaska's News Source)((Alaska's News Source))
Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 7:10 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The State of Alaska has just released its list of who is eligible in the next few rounds of COVID-19 vaccine availability in Alaska, including Alaskans over 65 and those in essential industries outside of health care.

Phase 1b of the vaccine distribution process is made up of four tiers.

At the top of this phase, in tier 1, are Alaskans 65 and older; tier 2 includes front line essential workers over 50, including those in industries like education, grocery stores and public transit. Tier 3 includes Alaskans in those industries with two or more high-risk health conditions, and people over 16 in “underserved communities,” with little access to running water.

Tier 4 includes people 50 and over with two or more high-risk health conditions and frontline workers ages 16-50.

The full list of included occupations and industries, from the State of Alaska, and other eligibility information here.

Now that the next phase is released, where and when can Alaskans who fit the criteria get the vaccine?

The state has a website where Alaskans can see the eligibility requirements and, if eligible, can schedule an appointment with a listed provider. The site includes a map of clinics offering the vaccine and information from each on how to schedule an appointment. Some locations take appointments online, some by phone.

Currently, Alaskans eligible under the three tiers of phase 1a are allowed to sign up for vaccination. Phase 1a includes long term care facility staff and residents, hospital-based health care workers and hospital personnel at the highest risk for exposure to COVID-19, frontline emergency responders like medics and firefighters, community health aides, health care workers providing vaccinations and health care workers who provide services that cannot be postponed or done remotely.

Alaskans in phase 1a tier 3, in-person health care workers, have been able to sign up for vaccine appointments for about a week, and vaccinations will begin Monday.

For Alaskans who fall under the newly-announced phase 1b, a date to sign up for a vaccine appointment, or to begin vaccinations has not yet been set. But the state’s vaccine website, listed above, says the state anticipates phase 1b tier 1 Alaskans — those 65 and older — to begin in late January.

For those who cannot yet sign up for vaccination but are planning ahead, the state’s site has a map of health clinics and pharmacies that will be administering the vaccines.

Alaskans who want to give input to the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee on who should be included in phase 1c can do so during a virtual meeting on Jan. 11 from 4-5 p.m. or by providing written comments. Find more information on how to sign up to provide comment and how to access the meeting on the Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee’s page

Some Alaskans who do not meet the state’s phase 1a criteria have already received the vaccine, and some are questioning how they seem to have “skipped” the line. Alaska’s vaccine shipments include doses allocated to tribal entities by the federal Indian Health Service. These entities establish their own vaccine distribution protocols and have more leeway in distributing them across their communities, vaccine task force members say.

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