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‘Sleeves up for summer. Let’s get Alaska up and running:’ The state is launching a new COVID-19 vaccination campaign

A Foundation Health Partners medical professional preparing a COVID-19 vaccine.
A Foundation Health Partners medical professional preparing a COVID-19 vaccine.(KTVF)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 6:23 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In a new promotional video, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy can be seen urging Alaskans to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m getting the vaccine, because I want to help Alaska businesses get back to work, and I want to do the things that we all love,” Dunleavy says in the video, wearing a red fleece jacket backdropped by a quintessential Alaska view: blue skies, mountains, green trees and water.

“Sleeves up for summer. Let’s get Alaska up and running,” continues the ad.

Vaccination is a choice and it will not be mandated by the state, but I hope you consider it. I’m getting the vaccine...

Posted by Governor Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Dunleavy, who fell ill earlier this year with COVID-19, is making a bid to set Alaska apart as a choice destination for summer travelers. In addition to luring people to the state for its traditional bucket-list appeal, the state has said beginning June 1, it will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations to tourists.

RELATED: Alaska governor says free COVID-19 shots for visitors starting in June

The hope for the plan is to attract tourism dollars while offering the vaccine as a way to continue to help prevent the spread of the illness and keep Alaskans and visitors as healthy as possible.

Until then the state will spend the next few weeks encouraging Alaskans who have not received the vaccine but are ready and willing to get one, to do so. In a regularly scheduled media availability Thursday, the state’s health team told reporters that they hope to raise Alaska’s vaccination rate as close to 70% if possible. The team said nationally, about 30% of people are refusing the vaccine. It hopes to bridge the gap in Alaska between that threshold and vaccine uptake across the state, which varies by region.

The health team also said it expects a decision very soon on returning the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine into circulation, and an announcement within a month or so on vaccine availability for youth ages 12 and older.

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