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DHSS says seniors are next as part of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 6:08 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As questions swirl over who is next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, leaders of Alaska’s health department said clarity can be found on the state’s website, though it is important that Alaskans read carefully to understand the plans for the near future.

On Wednesday, the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that people in Phase 1A, Tier 3 will be able to get their vaccinations starting January 4. Those individuals include essential health care workers, who provide health care services that cannot be postponed or provided remotely.

A day later, DHSS said the next group that can receive the vaccine is those in Phase 1B, which includes all those aged 65 and older. However, the announcement did not say when those individuals can actually start receiving their vaccinations.

“I think that created some confusion,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer. “There’s been some email traffic, and some miscommunication along those lines. We’re working on both how you register for an appointment to make it clear so it matches the website information.

“So it’s much clearer on both sides,” she added, “and those we’re vaccinating are really clear on where that’s at.”

Dr. Zink said that for the elderly in Alaska, their turn for vaccinations is coming soon.

“A month ago, we didn’t know this vaccine would work well in people over 65,” she said, “and here we are, and it does work really well.”

Officials said a decision on when Alaska’s elderly will receive their vaccinations as part of Phase 1B could be made as early as next week.

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