Alaska’s public health team says ‘don’t hesitate, vaccinate’

Public health officials urge Alaskans to get vaccinated ahead of spring and summer travel.
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 9:26 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - “We’re really encouraging people to vaccinate,” Dr. Anne Zink said during a regularly scheduled video meeting with reporters Monday on the COVID-19 vaccine.

With the single-dose vaccine from Johnson and Johnson already in the hands of Alaska’s federal pharmacy partners, and more doses expected to arrive this week, options for vaccine-seekers and those delivering care should widen.

This, combined with last week’s expansion of who qualifies, is good news, said Zink and her team.

While the vaccine isn’t yet fully plentiful, Zink said there is “a lot more than we ever had before,” adding that “we need to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

The push comes as spring breaks are beginning, Easter is close and summer not far off. After a year of hunkering down, there is much desire to visit and travel.

“We’ve had a long pandemic. People are ready to get together,” Zink said.

Among the concerns is the spread of COVID-19 variants, which data show happens with travel, Zink said.

“That is just a risk factor for moving COVID between communities and having various spread. If we aren’t spreading COVID, then variants don’t happen,” she said.

The state of Alaska has a COVID-19 information line that anyone with questions about vaccines can call to get information about the vaccines, eligibility and help scheduling appointments. The number is 907-646-3322.

‘We have got to do this now, prior to a lot of people coming in the summer. We want our businesses open. We want our restaurants open. We want tourism here, but we want to do it safely. And so that’s why we’re really encouraging people to vaccinate,” Zink said.

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