Thousands of new COVID-19 vaccine appointments for the month of February opened up Thursday afternoon in Alaska for adults 65 and older, plus previously eligible Phase 1A health care workers.
By Friday afternoon, many of those appointments still remained open on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination website, the majority of them in Anchorage.
As of 3 p.m. Friday, a visit to the state vaccination site, which tracks many of the appointments available statewide in real time, showed over 2,000 appointments still available at the Alaska Airlines Center vaccination site alone.
Additional appointments were also still available in Fairbanks, Soldotna, Kodiak, Sitka, Kenai, Cooper Landing and Ketchikan.
The fact that appointments remained available a day after they opened marked a shift from early this month, when the first round of vaccine appointments for adults 65 and older filled within hours.
State health officials said earlier this week that if every senior in Alaska wanted to be vaccinated, there would likely not be enough vaccine available for all of them to get a dose in February based on the numbers alone.
But that would depend on how many seniors wanted to get vaccine, and how many may have already been vaccinated through separate allocations set aside for veterans and tribal health organizations.
Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said protecting those most vulnerable to a serious COVID-19 infection remains the state’s current vaccination priority.
“We do know that 70% of our deaths and 50% of our hospitalizations have been in people 65 and older, and that’s why February is all about our elders and our seniors and getting them vaccinated,” she said.
As of this week, state health officials also said there were no current plans to move to the next tier of Phase 1B after seniors, but they also said that could change based on availability of vaccine.
How to sign up for a vaccine appointment in Alaska
Alaskans currently eligible for vaccine can visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322 to get help signing up for a vaccine appointment for next month.
Tessa Walker Linderman, co-lead with the Alaska Vaccine Task Force, clarified this week that not every community is on the same timeline, and that some cities would be releasing February appointments on the site at a later date.
In Homer, for example, appointments will open up on Tuesday for a clinic the following weekend.
Additional mass vaccine clinics will also open up throughout the month, including the 2,000 walk-in vaccinations that will be available on Feb. 11, 12 and 13 for seniors at the Anchorage School District’s vaccination clinic at 5530 E. Northern Lights Blvd.
That clinic does not require appointments to be made ahead of time.
Veterans 65 and older in the Anchorage area can also call 907-257-4700 to get scheduled for the vaccine through the Alaska VA.
Patients and employees of Southcentral Foundation or the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, plus any members of their households 16 and older, are also currently eligible to sign up to receive the vaccine.
If that includes you, visit southcentralfoundation.com/covid-19 to sign up.