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Infectious Disease

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COVID-19 Vaccine Information for all Alaskans 

Updated March 1, 2021

On this page:

Who should get vaccinated, and when

Who can get the vaccine now, and when will I be able to?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the United States. Supply is very limited at this time. The first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Alaska in mid-December. Supply is very limited at this time. Most of the people who may currently receive the vaccine are hospital-based healthcare workers.

Vaccine will be available to more groups of people over time, and it will be available to all who want it over time. Learn more about who it is available to, and when you’ll be able to get it.


Image for illustrative purposes only; please refer
Who can get the vaccine now? for information about who the vaccine is currently available to.

Where will the vaccine be available?

When the vaccine is more widely available, a link will be provided on this site to help Alaskans locate nearby vaccine providers. For now, vaccine providers receiving vaccine shipments coordinate outreach to people in groups it is available to.

I’m not currently in Alaska. What should I do to get vaccinated?

You’ll want to follow the guidelines for where you are located. States and local jurisdictions will have different guidance than what you’ll see in Alaska. You’ll follow the guidance of the community you are in. You’ll want to plan to get both doses of vaccine with the same healthcare provider.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve recently received the flu vaccine, or any other vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccine within 2 weeks of any other vaccine because insufficient data currently exists on the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines. However, CDC has also recommended not to deny the COVID vaccine to someone who recently had another vaccine and is at high risk for COVID-19 at this time.

My spouse/partner does not meet the current criteria, should they get vaccinated when I do?

The vaccine is only available to those specified at http://covidvax.alaska.gov. Eventually the vaccine will be available to everyone. We appreciate your understanding.

Scheduling an appointment

If I’m on a waitlist with a provider, should I work to seek an appointment, or should I seek an available spot elsewhere?

It’s okay to look for another spot, but providers are continuing to follow up and let people know when vaccine is available. If you do book an appointment elsewhere, you can let the provider you’re waitlisted with know.

If I am not able to secure an appointment, what opportunities will we have in the future?

Appointments will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis. We’re working to enroll more providers to vaccinate Alaskans, which will result in more appointment availability. New appointments will be added regularly.

What do I need to do to schedule my second dose of vaccine?

The healthcare provider who gives you a your first dose will give you instructions for scheduling your second dose.

What to expect at your appointment

Will I have a choice in which vaccine I can get?

While vaccine is limited, you may not have options between vaccines. 

Safety

Is a COVID-19 vaccine safe?

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority. No steps are skipped during the clinical trial process for COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine safety checks are in progress and will continue as long as a vaccine is available. Vaccine safety is complicated and important, and questions are expected and healthy.

Learn more about the V-safe after-vaccination health checker and how to report side effects in the Vaccine Safety Application V-Safe Information Sheet (PDF).

Efficacy

Will the vaccine be effective?

A safe and effective COVID vaccine is an important tool for ending the global pandemic. Vaccines can protect individuals in different ways. Vaccines also protect the people around you - including Alaska’s healthcare workers and their patients.      

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes vaccines after they pass several clinical trials. Scientists are using clinical trials to test the COVID vaccine’s effectiveness. These clinical trials require thousands of people and months of data. The vaccine development is faster than normal because some steps are being done at the same time instead of one after another. Learn more about FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization authority and watch avideo on what an EUA is.

The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine to be made available on December 11, 2020. The FDA authorized the Moderna vaccine on December 18, 2020. The FDA authorized the Janssen vaccine on February 27, 2021.

In Phase 3 clinical trials, data showed:

  • Moderna vaccine: 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19
  • Pfizer vaccine: 95% effective at preventing COVID-19

Health advisories

Will there be a COVID-19 vaccine mandate?

There are no plans for a statewide Alaska COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The role of the Alaska COVID Vaccine Task Force is to provide Alaskans with the information they need to make safe and healthy decisions about vaccination. State and Tribal leaders prioritize your trust and safety.

Cost

How much will the vaccine cost?

The Alaska COVID Vaccine Task Force is working to ensure COVID vaccines are available at no charge to the individual. The CDC has stated that cost will not be an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Depending on where you receive the vaccine, the provider may charge an administration fee.

About Alaska’s vaccination effort

How many Alaskans are vaccinated?

View the Alaska dashboard summary below, or see the full vaccine dashboard.

 

 Dashboard Summary

 

What process decides who gets the vaccine first?

Learn more about how decisions are made, and how to provide input, at the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee information page.

Who is responsible for planning for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The State of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium are working together to plan and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force includes eight sub-teams: planning, operations, software solutions, payers, pharmacy, communications and education, data and liaisons. On October 16, 2020, an Alaska Draft COVID-19 Vaccination Plan was submitted to the CDC for review. This was a requirement for all states. The goal is to have a safe and effective vaccine available to all Alaskans who want it.

Travel

If I get vaccinated do I have to comply with health advis for travel?

Yes, you should still comply with the requirements of Health Advisory 3, Intrastate Travel, or Health Advisory 2, International and Interstate Travel. It is unknown whether vaccinated individuals might still be able to pass the virus on to others.

While the vaccines authorized by the FDA for COVID-19 are safe and highly effective, they have been tested only to find out whether they protect the person getting the vaccine from getting sick with COVID-19. We do not know yet how well they prevent the person from getting infected with the virus and passing it on, only how well they prevent the person from getting sick. We know that getting vaccine helps to protect you, but we do not know yet how much it helps to protect other people.

So, if you are traveling and you have gotten the vaccine, you are much less likely to get very sick with COVID-19. However, because you may still be able to catch the virus and give it to others, the requirements for quarantine and testing do not change. The vaccines do not affect your test results.

What to expect after you are vaccinated

After I get vaccinated, do I need to continue COVID-19 precautions like distancing and wearing a mask?

For now, masks, distancing, avoiding indoor gatherings, following the travel health advisories, needing to quarantine after having close contact with someone with COVID-19 and all other mitigation measures will not change for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These vaccines are excellent at protecting the person who gets them, but are not 100% perfect for protecting against mild illness so there is still a small chance you can get COVID-19 and give it to someone else even after getting the vaccines. Research is ongoing to look into the question of how likely it is that someone who has been vaccinated can get COVID-19 but have no symptoms at all and still pass it to someone else, and our recommendations may change as we learn more over the coming weeks and months.

Will I receive documentation that I was vaccinated?

While there is no mandate to get vaccinated, you may wonder if you’ll have any documentation to note what vaccine you received, and when. You will receive a vaccine record card from your healthcare provider. 

Resources to support you

Additional information will be provided as it is available.

Alaska COVID-19 vaccine information pages

Hear the latest about vaccine in Alaska

Eligibility clarifications

Non-residents

  • Am I eligible if I live in another state but work in Alaska?
    Non-resident frontline essential workers may get vaccinated after arrival IF they meet all other eligibility criteria for the current open vaccination Tier AND either: 1) will be working here in the State for 60 consecutive days or more OR 2) are on contract to be working in Alaska for at least 120 days during the next calendar year
  • Am I required to provide proof of eligibility if I am a non-resident?
    If part of your eligibility criteria is that you work as a frontline essential worker AND you work in the seafood, mining, or oil industry, you will need to provide a letter from your employer stating that you either: 1) will be working here in the State for 60 consecutive days or more OR 2) are on contract to be working in Alaska for at least 120 days during the next calendar year.

Frontline Essential Workers

  • What defines a frontline essential worker?
    Frontline essential workers are defined as people who are working in sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 because their work-related duties must be performed on-site and involve being in close proximity (less than six feet) to the public or to coworkers. The State of Alaska is following the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidance on essential critical infrastructure workers.


  • I am not considered a frontline essential worker by CISA, but I have to work within 6 feet of others. Am I currently eligible?
    No, at this time only workers defined by CISA are eligible in this category. To be eligible under Phase 1b Tier 2, people must also be 50 and above.
  • I am a CISA frontline essential worker, but I’m able to work remotely and only rarely work within 6 feet of others. Am I currently eligible to receive the vaccine?
    If you are able to currently work remotely please wait to be vaccinated, as supply is still limited.
  • I volunteer as a frontline essential worker as defined by CISA. Am I currently eligible to receive the vaccine? Paid, contract, or unpaid frontline essential workers ages 50 and above who work less than six feet from the public or coworkers are currently eligible.
  • Do I have to provide proof that I am eligible as an essential worker?
    If you work in the oil, mining, or seafood industry, you will be required to provide a letter from your employer stating that you are a member of the state’s Critical Infrastructure and Essential Services Workforce. If you are also a non-resident, your letter will have to state that you either: 1) will be working here in the State for 60 consecutive days or more OR 2) are on contract to be working in Alaska for at least 120 days during the next calendar year.

Education Staff

  • Who is included in the definition of PreK-12 educators and support staff?
    To be eligible, educators and support staff must be paid or unpaid staff who support operational functions of a school or school district; AND interact with people outside their household in that role daily, for multiple hours per day. Some examples of educators and support staff include teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, sports coaches, bus drivers, food service, language interpreters, and custodial service workers who are associated with school settings.
  • Who is included in the definition of childcare (daycare) workers and support staff?
    To be eligible, childcare workers and support staff must be paid or unpaid staff who support operational functions of a childcare setting; AND interact with people from multiple households in that role daily, for multiple hours per day. Some examples of people who are eligible include teachers, administrators, paraprofessional staff, food service, and custodial service workers who are associated with childcare settings.
  • I volunteer at my child’s school, am I eligible as support staff?
    No, volunteers are not considered as education support staff. Support staff includes any paid, contract, or unpaid staff who provide support services associated with the operational functions of the school or school district.
  • I am a coach in a sports league that is not affiliated with a school or school district but includes children PreK-12. Am I eligible as support staff?
    No, you must support operational functions of a school or school district to be eligible under this category.
  • Are higher education staff included as “education staff”?
    University workers are not considered as part of the definition of “Education staff” for the purposes of determining Alaska vaccine eligibility. University workers are considered “Frontline Essential Workers” if their work-related duties must be performed on-site and involve being in close proximity (<6 feet) to the public or to coworkers. Frontline essential workers aged 50 and above are eligible now.
  • Are homeschool parents eligible to receive the vaccine? Homeschool parents could be included as education staff if their work is performed with individuals outside their household on a daily basis for multiple hours per day.
  • Is an afterschool program a childcare setting? Yes.
  • Who are culture bearers? Culture bearer refers to an individual recognized to possess the skills and techniques in doing a particular traditional art or craft and is responsible in teaching this to a group of learners.

Medical Conditions

  • How and why were these high risk medical conditions determined? These medical conditions are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Alaska Vaccine Advisory Committee determined that Type 1 diabetes also posed high enough risk to be included.  See the CDC high risk definition. Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness | CDC
  • What heart conditions make me high risk? Having any of the following heart conditions increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19: heart failure, Coronary artery disease, Cardiomyopathies, or Pulmonary hypertension. Having other cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or stroke, might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you have any of these heart conditions and meet the age requirement, you are eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • What if I am a cancer survivor? People who currently have cancer are eligible. According to the CDC, having cancer currently increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. At this time, it is not known whether having a history of cancer increases your risk.  People with a history of cancer are not eligible.
  • What should I do if I am high risk for COVID-19? Have a conversation with your health care provider or care team to discuss your individual level of risk based on your condition, your treatment, and the level of virus transmission in your community. Do not stop taking your medicines or alter your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medicines. Do not delay life-saving treatment or emergency care. Call your health care provider or care team if you have concerns about your condition, your treatment, think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, have any new signs or symptoms of illness, or any other questions.
  • Does smoking include marijuana and/or vaping? Being a current or former smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This medical condition is currently limited to tobacco smoking only.

 

Congregate Settings

  • What is the definition of a congregate setting? People living or working in congregate settings is limited to:
    • Acute psychiatric facilities;
    • Correctional settings;
    • Group homes for individuals with disabilities or mental and behavioral health conditions;
    • Homeless and domestic violence shelters;
    • Substance misuse and treatment residential facilities; and
    • Transitional living homes

Residential facilities that provide supportive or supervisory services to their residents and where social distancing is not possible due to shared bedrooms, shared kitchens or shared bathrooms. These facilities are either licensed by or otherwise formally affiliated with the State of Alaska and also may be administered by a private non-profit or other formal entity. Residents of these facilities and staff who work directly in these facilities are eligible in phase 1b, Tier 2. For purposes of Phase 1b Tier 2 eligibility, congregate settings do not include industry living quarters, foster or family settings, college dormitories, or boarding schools. Please see a list of eligible setting types below.

  • Are multigenerational homes or places of worship included as congregate settings? No.  Congregate living settings are limited to the following:
    • Acute psychiatric facilities;
    • Correctional settings;
    • Group homes for individuals with disabilities or mental and behavioral health conditions;
    • Homeless and domestic violence shelters;
    • Substance misuse and treatment residential facilities; and
    • Transitional living homes
  • Are living quarters in confined spaces where people are less than six feet apart considered congregate settings? No.  Congregate living settings are limited to the following:
    • Acute psychiatric facilities;
    • Correctional settings;
    • Group homes for individuals with disabilities or mental and behavioral health conditions;
    • Homeless and domestic violence shelters;
    • Substance misuse and treatment residential facilities; and
    • Transitional living homes
  • Are judicial settings such as the court room included as congregate settings? Yes, working in congregate settings includes people working in a judicial system whose job responsivities require them to interact with individuals residing in congregate setting.

Pandemic Response

  • Am I considered Pandemic Response staff? Persons in this group comprise those whose job involves deploying into community settings to respond in-person to COVID-19 outbreaks or other outbreaks of public health concern (e.g., tuberculosis, foodborne outbreaks, syphilis, HIV).

Contact information

We can help answer questions about COVID-19 vaccine planning, distribution or availability status. Please speak with your healthcare provider about any questions you have regarding your health. Our call center does not answer individual health-related questions. For emergencies, see your healthcare provider or go to an emergency room.

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