Data shows mostly Alaskans are getting vaccinated at airports across the state

The COVID-19 vaccination site at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport where tourists and...
The COVID-19 vaccination site at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport where tourists and Alaskans can get vaccinated.(Taylor Clark)
Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:59 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - While the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has been offering free COVID-19 vaccines to anyone who flies into the state, data shows Alaskans are making up the majority of those getting vaccinated at the airports.

Deputy Director of the Division of Public Health Tari O’Connor said that makes sense because of how much Alaskans find themselves at the airport.

“Alaskans use the airport for shopping, they use them for medical care they use them for getting to work,” she said.

The point of setting up vaccination sites at the major airports in the state and allowing tourists to be vaccinated there was to make it convenient to get not only residents in the state vaccinated, but simply everyone in the state who is eligible O’Connor said.

The sites have been set up at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the Juneau International Airport and the Fairbanks International Airport since May 15. The state has been offering vaccines to travelers since June 1.

Between May 15 and July 17 the three airports have accounted for 2,260 vaccinations, according to DHSS. That includes first and second doses for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The number of travelers taking vaccines at the airport varies. According to DHSS data, the week of June 20 30% of vaccines went to people from different states and countries. The week of July 10, 38% went to those coming from out of state.

Throughout the entire time period, Pfizer has been the most popular with 69% of all the doses, Johnson and Johnson second with 25%, and Moderna only 6%.

O’Connor pointed out that tourists don’t have to get vaccinated at the airport. They can get a shot wherever they are available in the state.

“The airports are one place, certainly a very convenient place for travelers to get vaccinated in Alaska, but it’s not the only place. So travelers to Alaska can get vaccinated at community sites, you know various providers throughout Alaska. So we don’t know what that number is of all the travelers getting vaccinated in Alaska,” she said.

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