First shot: COVID-19 vaccines arrive on island

The COVID-19 vaccine gets prepped at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center on Dec. 15.

About a third of Kodiakans over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data recently released by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. 

That works out to 3,214 people, or about 33% of Kodiak’s over-16 population of 9,735. 

Both of the currently authorized vaccines, from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna, require two shots. About 20% of those living in the borough over 16 have received both doses, or 1,898. 

The true numbers are actually higher than what’s been reported right now because it does not include vaccines distributed through the Department of Defense, which includes the Coast Guard, or through Veterans Affairs.

Kelsey Pistotnik, who is working with DHSS on the vaccine distribution, said that information would be available soon. 

Those vaccinated through the Indian Health Services vaccine allocation, which includes KANA, are included in the DHSS figures, Pistotnik said. 

Kodiak measures up fairly well against places with comparable populations, demographics and geography. Ketchikan Gateway Borough has gotten at least one shot to about 27% of its 16-and-over population. Sitka City and Borough has reached 52%. Juneau has hit 28%. The Valdez Cordova Census Area has vaccinated 28% of the 7,372 people over 16. 

Generally speaking, rural Alaska has distributed shots at a higher rate than urban areas. Anchorage, with 226,437 people over 16, has given 26% of that group at least one shot. Mat-Su has done 13% of the 80,661 people over 16. Fairbanks North Star Borough has given out at least one dose to 17%. 

Part of that difference might be due to the fact that IHS, which provides health care to Native Alaskans, does not follow the same tiers and phases that apply to the state’s vaccine allocation. 

Alaska as a whole has vaccinated 19.4% of the total population, though that includes those over the age of 16. According to a tally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s the highest rate in the nation. 

In Kodiak, 220 people got the jab at a clinic run through the Kodiak Emergency Operations Center and Kodiak Public Health on Saturday, a spokesperson said. 

Other vaccine providers include Safeway, Walmart, Kodiak Ambulatory Care Clinic, Kodiak Community Health Center and KANA. 

Currently, those now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine are as follows: most health care workers, anyone living or working in a long-term care facility, anyone over the age of 65, anyone who works in pre-K through 12th grade education, frontline workers over the age of 50 who work within 6 feet of others, anyone over the age of 50 with a high-risk medical condition and anyone living in a congregate living facility. 

See covidvax.alaska.gov to make an appointment and to see what qualifies as a high-risk medical condition and who qualifies as a frontline essential worker. Anyone can also call 907-646-3322 for more information and appointments. 

The Kodiak Emergency Operations Center did not report any new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. There are currently 10 active cases in the borough. 

On Monday, DHSS announced one death of an Alaska resident and 346 new people identified with COVID-19 in Alaska over the past three days. 

Of the new cases, 311 were residents: 74 in Anchorage, 65 in Wasilla, 32 in Fairbanks, 22 in Palmer, 18 in Juneau, 16 in Bethel Census Area, 11 in North Pole, seven in Eagle River, seven in Ketchikan, seven in Petersburg, seven in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, six in Kusilvak Census Area, four in Bethel, four in Chugiak, three in Denali Borough, three in Dillingham, three in Girdwood, three in Soldotna, two in Cordova, two in Kenai, two in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, two in Northwest Arctic Borough, two in Sitka, and one each in Big Lake, Copper River Census Area, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Homer, Hooper Bay, Seward, Utqiagvik, Wrangell and Yakutat plus Hoonah-Angoon.

Thirty-five new nonresident cases were identified: 24 in Unalaska, three in Aleutians East Borough and one in Anchorage were with the seafood industry. Two more in Anchorage and two in Fairbanks were found with purposes under investigation. There was also one in Prudhoe Bay with the oil industry and two others with purposes and locations under investigation.

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