MAT-SU — As vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna are distributed to Tier 1 frontline healthcare workers, COVID-19 cases across Alaska have seen a sharp decrease.
According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Alaska will receive an additional 52,900 doses of vaccines in January. Of those doses, 27,300 will be Pfizer BioNTech vaccines and 25,600 Moderna vaccines will also be included. Of the 52,900 total newly arriving COVID-19 vaccine doses, 16,200 will be allocated to the Indian Health Service.
Distribution of vaccines for Phase 1a Tiers 1 and 2 have already commenced with first dosages administered. Those included in Tier 3 can begin getting vaccinated at clinics on January 4.
“This pandemic has been rough on everyone, especially our seniors and those with underlying health conditions. Therefore, we will continue to accelerate and offer the vaccine to our senior citizens and Elders who have experienced the greatest illness and death from COVID-19,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “In addition to our senior citizens, those working in public safety and education, as well as other front-line workers will also be included in Phase 1b.”
There were over 380 individual public comments submitted during Phase 1b and after direct feedback from the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee, the State of Alaska released Phase 1b.
“We’re thankful that so many Alaskans are excited about the vaccine and engaged in the public process,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. “We wish we had enough vaccine for all who want it right now, but until we do, we’re balancing the science, logistics and ethics to get the supplies we do have out as quickly as possible.”
More information about vaccinations for COVID-19 in Alaska can be found at Covidvax.Alaska.gov.
On Thursday, 367 new cases were announced among Alaska residents with a cumulative total of 45,461 positive cases. There are currently 71 Alaskans hospitalized and 1,023 people in total have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. There have been 205 deaths among Alaska residents with one from a nonresident. There were seven new nonresident cases on Thursday with 1,525 total.
Since the beginning of vaccine distribution on December 15, there have been a total of 13,271 vaccines administered to Alaska residents, 12,478 of those from the Pfizer BioNTech and 793 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The first phase and first tier of vaccine recipients included long term care facility staff and residents and hospital based frontline health care workers. The second tier that have had the opportunity to receive vaccines included frontline Emergency Medical Services personnel and Firefighters as well as community health aides and those health care workers providing vaccinations. Beginning by appointment on December 30 and with clinical vaccinations on January 4, Tier 3 of Phase 1a will include health care workers at the highest risk to essential hospital infrastructure that have direct patient contact, provide essential services that cannot be delivered remotely and are not able to be postponed. Additionally, licensed, certified health care workers that work as support professionals including lab technicians, phlebotomists and those performing testing for COVID-19 may be vaccinated.
In the Mat-Su, 33 cases were announced on Thursday with a cumulative total of 6,340 cases among Mat-Su residents. There have been 62 total hospitalizations and three are currently hospitalized. A total of 16 people have died in the Mat-Su due to COVID-19. Of those Mat-Su residents who have died, one was from Big Lake, one was from Palmer, one is listed under ‘other’ and 13 deaths have been from Wasilla residents. The Mat-Su has a 7-day test positivity rate of 8.39 percent and only 4.7 percent of those hospitalized at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center are hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Big Lake has had 119 total positive cases. Houston has had 34 total positive cases with two newly reported. Knik-Fairview has had just one positive case. Meadow Lakes has reported eight total cases. There have been 62 cases attributed to ‘other.’ There have been 26 cases in Sutton with one newly reported. There have been 1,556 total cases in Palmer with 10 newly reported and Wasilla has had 4,448 total cases with 20 new.