Skip to content
Infectious Disease

Return to Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Homepage

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for all Alaskans 

Updated April 15, 2021

On this page:

Who should get vaccinated now

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

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to anyone living or working in Alaska who is age 16 or older. Pfizer vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and up. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines are authorized for ages 18 and up.

Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?

Yes. Not enough is yet known about how long immunity from natural COVID-19 illness might last and protect you from becoming re-infected and spreading the illness to others. For that reason, even if you have already been infected, vaccination is an important step to protect yourself and those around you.

If I am pregnant or breastfeeding, can I get vaccinated?

Alaskans who are pregnant or breastfeeding may choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to receive it. There are limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to pregnant people or their babies based on current understanding.

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; 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 and Prevention (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.

If I have an underlying medical condition, can I get vaccinated?

Yes, people with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Vaccination is an important consideration for people ages 16 and older with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Planning for and scheduling your 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 are 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. If you receive the Janssen Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will only need to receive one 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 at a specific clinic location. Many vaccination clinics note on the website which vaccine is being offered. You may select a clinic site that has your preferred vaccine.  

Which vaccine should I get?

It is recommend that you get the first vaccine you are offered, since the sooner a person is vaccinated, the sooner they are protected against COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider if you have concerns about receiving a specific vaccine.

Do I have a choice of which type of vaccine I get?

While vaccine is limited, you may not have options between vaccines at a specific clinic location. Many vaccination clinics note on the website which vaccine is being offered. It is recommend that you get the first vaccine you are offered, since the sooner a person is vaccinated, the sooner they are protected against COVID-19 illness. 

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 a video on what an EUA is.

The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine on December 11, 2020. The FDA authorized the Moderna vaccine on December 18, 2020. The FDA authorized the Janssen vaccine on February 27, 2021. All COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.

I read an article suggesting that the Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine is less effective in Alaska Native people.  Is there reliable scientific evidence to back this up?

No. We don’t have any reason to think that the Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine is any less effective in Alaska Native people than any other racial group. The Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine is safe and effective. The reported vaccine efficacy among people in this racial group in the phase 3 clinical trial for this vaccine included fewer than 200 Alaska Native/American Indian people in the United States. This number is too small to draw any meaningful conclusions about vaccine efficacy.  

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?

COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no cost to you, regardless of your insurance policy.

Vaccination providers can be reimbursed for vaccine administration fees by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay a vaccine 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 advisory 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?

CDC has released guidance stating that those who are fully vaccinated may gather with other people who are fully vaccinated in a small private setting without social distancing or wearing a mask. Even if it has been two weeks since your final COVID-19 vaccination, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations. This includes wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart, avoiding crowds, and following travel and workplace guidance. These vaccines are excellent at protecting the person who gets immunized, but we are still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease. 

If I am fully vaccinated, what will change for me?

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after your dose of Janssen’s vaccine. When you are fully vaccinated, you can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or get tested unless you have symptoms or you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home). Review the complete updated guidelines at the CDC website.

Will I receive documentation that I was vaccinated?

You will receive a vaccine record card from your healthcare provider. 

What are the common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?

After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

How long does COVID-19 vaccine last?

We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice. 

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

Can't find what you're looking for?