Anchorage

Upcoming mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Alaska Airlines Center fills up quickly

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An appointment-based COVID-19 vaccination clinic slated to be held over the weekend at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage filled up rapidly this week.

The clinic will be held Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, Heather Harris, director of the Anchorage Health Department, told reporters Thursday.

It is open to anyone in Alaska currently eligible for the vaccine, she said. Right now, that means adults 65 and older and most health care workers.

Sign-ups for those appointments opened at 6 p.m. Thursday on the state’s vaccine website to high demand: All time slots — about 1,800 over three days — were booked up within four hours, Harris said in a briefing Friday. City officials do not expect to hold additional clinics like this one until next month due to a limited supply of vaccine, Harris said.

Those currently eligible to receive a vaccine can book an appointment on the state’s vaccine website, covidvax.alaska.gov. People who would rather make an appointment by phone can leave a message at 907-646-3322, and a vaccine coordinator will call them back to help.

Harris said the Alaska Airlines Center clinic is part of an effort to vaccinate many more Alaskans, especially seniors 65 and older, who on Wednesday were able to start signing up for vaccine appointments but experienced issues because the limited number of time slots statewide were filled in a matter of hours.

In Anchorage, some seniors who were struggling to sign up online were offered appointments through a clinic offered by the Anchorage School District, health officials say. But others haven’t been able to make an appointment.

“We recognize and appreciate the frustration that Alaskans and those in the municipality have been experiencing as they tried to register and sign up for their vaccine,” Harris said. “We’re just excited to be able to provide this additional opportunity to access vaccination appointments, and encourage those that are eligible to receive vaccination at this point to visit that site later this evening.”

More clinics like the one at the Alaska Airlines Center will be held in other parts of the state — including Juneau, Fairbanks, Kenai and Mat-Su — this month, state health officials added.

Juneau is planning to host a clinic for health care workers and people 65 and older the weekend of Jan. 15. Appointment scheduling for that clinic will be available beginning Monday, officials there said.

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