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Eligible Alaskans can sign-up for additional COVID-19 vaccine appointments Thursday

Eligible Alaskans have more choices when it comes to getting appointments for the COVID-19...
Eligible Alaskans have more choices when it comes to getting appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine(ktuu)
Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 5:09 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With a new shipment of COVID-19 vaccine on the way, the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services is urging eligible Alaskans to sign-up for the vaccine.

According to a release, February appointments will be made available Thursday at noon for Alaskans who are 65 and older, heath care workers or long-term care residents and staff.

State officials are hoping things go smoother this time around after many people complained that they had difficulty getting appointments with an earlier vaccine shipment.

There are several ways to sign up including by going to the state website covidvax.alaska.gov.

Health officials say there have been improvements to the site to make it easier to navigate. People who lack internet or need additional help can call 907-646-3322 and speak to a real person.

“Previously, we let everyone know you need to leave a message and we will call you back,” said Tessa Walker Linderman, with Alaska’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. “But we have a full team of people who will be answering calls live starting this week instead of leaving a message.”

Another organization, Alaska’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers, can help Alaskans who are 65 and older as well as people experiencing disabilities and their caregivers to schedule appointments. The toll-free number is 1-855-565-2017.

The Municipality of Anchorage may have one of the most direct routes to an appointment through its new website, Anchoragecovidvaccine.org, which was launched two weeks ago. MOA Data Analyst Ben Matheson designed the website to make it easier for people to find appointments by refining the search to locations where appointments were immediately available.

“What we wanted to do is make it so seniors and people signing up for vaccinations don’t have to sort through a lot of different pages,” said Matheson. “And they can see only the places that have vaccine appointments that they can sign up for right now.”

The site lists available appointments across the state and is updated every minute. Matheson said it pays to check frequently because sometimes appointments pop up unexpectedly.

“Last night there was a pocket of Eagle River appointments that just showed up. There was a big batch in Palmer over the weekend, in Fairbanks last week. So it does have surprises,” he said.

The site does not list every provider that has the vaccine, although the state site has links to many of the others. People can also inquire with their own health care providers to see if they have vaccine and appointments available.

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