February vaccine appointments now available, through state website
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - This week during a White House press briefing, seven states were commended for having already provided vaccinations to more than 10% of their adult populations. Alaska, West Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota make up that short list.
Alaska’s rapid push towards total inoculation is set to continue next week when 59,000 additional vaccines are expected to arrive through the state’s monthly allocation. Of those doses, 41,100 will be distributed by the state. The remaining 18,500, allocated through Indian Health Services, will go to Alaska’s Tribal Health System.
On Friday evening, the state’s website for making appointments still showed hundred of openings in Anchorage, Sitka and Soldotna — several other communities listed limited availabilities and far fewer openings.
Tessa Walker Linderman, who leads the state’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, credits the national recognition to Alaskans that are eager to step up and get their vaccines; however, health care leaders say that progress is still limited by the number of doses being designated at a federal level.
“We anticipate seeing more vaccine allocated to the state each month, certainly as manufacturing ramps up,” she said. “Also, as additional vaccines are improved, we expect quite a bit more vaccine each month.”
Anchorage is expected to receive around one-third of the state’s overall supply of vaccines in February. Anchorage Health Department Director Heather Harris expects that Alaska’s largest city will continue to see similar numbers of vaccines allocated into the spring.
“For the Anchorage Municipality, the allocation we are getting is 12,360 doses,” Harris said. “That’s very similar to what we saw in January and likely to be similar to what we saw in March.”
While most states take their federal vaccine allocations weekly, Alaska’s monthly allotments allow for long term planning, which Harris says has played a big factor in the state’s rapid progress since December.
“It allows us an environment to really think about it as changes come, and they could come quickly,” she said. “How do we shift our system, or ramp up the system we have in place to really get to those goals we have of getting vaccines into people’s arms?”
Alaska remains in phase 1b for now, prioritizing doses for people age 65 or older. The state has not announced any plans to alter its vaccine distribution plans anytime next month.
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