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Alaska Guidance for Allocating COVID-19 Vaccine  

Updated April 6, 2021

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About the Guidelines

The State of Alaska is using a phased approach to allocate the initial limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine to Alaskans. At the national level, allocation recommendations are being made by the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). To suitably adapt the ACIP recommendations for Alaska, the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, in cooperation with the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, convened the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee (AVAAC). The recommendations from the AVAAC apply only to the management of Alaska’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation. This process does not apply to Indian Health Service, Veterans Affairs, and Department of Defense allocations.

More information is available in the current guidelines (PDF) and process for allocation by region/location.

About the Committee

AVAAC includes representatives from emergency medicine, family medicine, infectious disease, EMS, long-term care, the American Association of Retired Persons, pharmacy, and medical ethics. AVAAC uses currently available science and guidance provided by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), ACIP, the National Academy of Sciences, and other sources to inform its recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine allocation to DHSS. AVAAC is guided by the following principles designated by both ACIP and the CDC:

Science

  • Maximize benefits and minimize harms
  • Protect the population’s health by reducing mortality and morbidity and preserving societal functioning

Implementation

  • Assure feasibility of vaccine distribution
  • Uphold community and individual values

Ethics

  • Achieve equitable access for all Alaskans by promoting justice and mitigating health inequities
  • Ensure transparency and promote education on both the science and implementation

Within each tier, all groups have equal priority. The phases for vaccine allocation are an attempt to take a limited supply of vaccine and balance the science, ethics, and implementation for the most benefit for the health and wellbeing of Alaskans.

Alaska’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Process 

As ACIP offers new national recommendations and Alaska receives additional vaccine allocations, the Committee will continue to meet to provide Alaska-specific recommendations to DHSS. Recommendations made by AVAAC are submitted to the Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Team and DHSS leadership for review. The process includes opportunities for public input. Forthcoming allocation updates will be published on the DHSS COVID-19 vaccine website. The following is an outline of the State of Alaska’s decision-making process for vaccine allocation:

  • Step 1: ACIP releases recommendations.
  • Step 2: ACIP recommendations reviewed by the Alaska Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee.
  • Step 3: The Committee provides recommendations to the State of Alaska.
  • Step 4: The Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and DHSS leadership assess the Committee’s recommendations, which may be adopted in full or amended prior to issuance.
  • Step 5: The guidance is then published on covidvax.alaska.gov and disseminated to enrolled vaccination providers, who sign an attestation form saying they will confirm eligibility for those receiving vaccine. The State of Alaska does not oversee the allocation process at the point of care.

Health Equity

The State of Alaska Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force implementation teams use tools such as the area deprivation index (ADI) to identify specific geographic areas within communities that experience higher levels of deprivation compared to surrounding areas. DHSS implementation teams are working with a range of stakeholders to focus outreach efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines for people in each phase. These efforts will vary by community and may include offering alternative methods to schedule appointments and receive the vaccine through targeted outreach.  This will be implemented through partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Centers, local health authorities, and other community-based organizations.

Committee Meeting Notes to Date

See the Vaccination Plan: Allocation Guidelines (PDF).

  • Phase 1a, Tier 1 & 2 meeting on December 3, 2020: Reviewed ACIP recommendations and Alaska’s needs, and determined a portion of the groups to be included in Phase 1A. View a summary of the December 3 meeting (PDF). On December 10, the committee met and clarified the definition of “long-term care facility.”
  • Phase 1a, Tier 3 meeting on December 17, 2020: Reviewed ACIP recommendations, public written comment, letters, and determined a portion of the groups to be included in Phase 1A, Tier 3. The committee unanimously determined Tier 3 groups. View a summary of the December 17 meeting (PDF).
  • Phase 1b, Tier 1 meeting on December 22, 2020: December 22 meeting notes (PDF) are available. Please note this does not include finalized Phase 1b recommendations from the committee, which take into account public comment received through December 28 at 5 PM.
  • Phase 1b, meeting on December 29, 2020: December 29 meeting notes (PDF) are available. Please note that final AVAAC recommendations are not the final allocation determinations. 
  • Phase 1c, meeting on January 5, 2021: Reviewed DHSS changes to Phase 1b & rationale. Committee expressed support with final DHSS changes. Reviewed ACIP recommendations and Alaska’s needs, and determined a portion of the groups to be included in Phase 1C. January 5th meeting notes (PDF) are available. Please note this does not include finalized Phase 1c recommendations from the committee, which will take into account public comment received through January 11th at 5 PM.
  • Phase 1c, meeting on January 12, 2021: January 12 meeting notes (PDF) are available. Please note that final AVAAC recommendations are not the final allocation determinations.

Provide Input

How to provide public comments

DHSS will continue to take written public comments on the allocation process:

  • Provide written comments.
    These comments will be given to the DHSS Vaccine Task Force and comments may be made public with personal identifiers removed. Participants are encouraged to remove personal identifiers to protect their privacy.

 

 Browse public comments that have been submitted

 

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