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‘Because science’: Alaska is leading the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations

A Foundation Health Partners medical professional preparing a COVID-19 vaccine.
A Foundation Health Partners medical professional preparing a COVID-19 vaccine.(KTVF)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 3:50 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska is leading the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the state vaccine monitoring dashboard, as of Wednesday afternoon 16.9% of the population is fully vaccinated, 23.9% have had at least one shot and people age 60-69 are the highest population that has been vaccinated.

It was Tuesday afternoon when Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that anyone 16 and older who lives or works in the state can get vaccinated.

Dunleavy encouraged all Alaskans thinking about getting vaccinated to do so, adding that the vaccine “gives us the ability now in Alaska to far outpace other states.”

Several tribal health organizations, using a separate allocation of doses through the Indian Health Service, were already vaccinating people ages 16 and older.

“Fighting COVID-19 is a community effort and we are pleased to be able to offer these additional appointments to Alaskans,” said April Kyle, the president and CEO of Southcentral Foundation, in an emailed statement. “The response to SCF’s Vaccine Clinic has been fantastic and we look forward to supporting even more people in the fight against COVID-19.”

Wednesday morning, Alaska’s News Source asked Alaskans if they would be getting the shots.

“Yes I am when I heard they were changing the age restrictions last night I called and immediately made an appointment,” said Betsi Oliver from Anchorage.

“I feel pretty healthy and don’t have any underlying issues,” said Lisa Rau. “So maybe later, but not right now.”

Most Alaskans said being able to be with family again was the primary reason for getting a vaccine.

“I already have gotten one shot so I’m excited to get my second shot and be fully vaccinated,” said Stephanie Lee from Anchorage. “This is great for my kids who are in their 20s now they can all get their shots and we can have family gatherings for the first time in a year so we’re pretty excited.”

More than 300 Alaskans have died from coronavirus since the pandemic began.

To sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine, visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322 for help.

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