‘Get the shot and get this over with’: A look at how many people in Alaska have had the COVID-19 vaccination

A bottle of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is prepared for a staff member at Alaska Regional Hospital.
A bottle of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is prepared for a staff member at Alaska Regional Hospital.(KTUU)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 5:30 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After a year of fewer celebrations and parties, Roquel Mills-Bain celebrated her birthday with good friends at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse.

“Whooaaa!” cheered a friend over plates of fries.

Despite the pandemic creating havoc in countless lives, Mills-Bain said she hasn’t had a COVID-19 shot yet, saying she’s worried about which vaccine is the ‘right one.’

“I think she should still get it,” Leilani Jones, a friend at the party said. “A day or two of flu-like symptoms is better than getting covid.”

About 36% of all eligible Alaskans age 16 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while about 44% have had at least one dose, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Coronavirus Response Hub. By age group, people 60-69 are the most vaccinated within the state followed by people 50-59. Skagway has the highest vaccination rate with 60.07% having at least had one dose, according to the state.

On Tuesday, however, federal health officials called for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, saying they are reviewing reports of six U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot among more than 6.8 million people who received the vaccine.

In Alaska, as of April 12, 11,178 Johnson & Johnson doses have been administered out of 35,500 total doses allocated in the state.

RELATED: Alaska pauses administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal recommendation

“We take every vaccine adverse event seriously,” Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an Alaska’s state epidemiologist said in an emailed news release. “This pause is an important part of the process that ensures the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. This is how our safety checks work. DHSS is notifying vaccine providers via email and phone calls this morning and is also providing information to all health care providers. Alaskans should also know this appears to be a very rare event, with six cases out of 6.8 million doses of J&J vaccine administered to date.”

In an interview near City Hall, Mackenzie Porhola said he won’t get a vaccine.

“I don’t feel the need to do it. I don’t think I’m putting people at risk, especially considering we still have the mask mandate and everything and people are still wearing masks,” Porhola said.

Even with the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, most Alaskans who spoke with Alaska’s News Source said the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the concerns.

“I think people should get it, get the shot and get this over with,” Don Harnan said. “The more people that get the shot the sooner this will all get over with.”

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