Vaccine providers prepare for March COVID-19 shipments; further eligibility clarifications announced to include more Alaskans

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced Wednesday that Alaska will receive 60,760 first doses of state-allocated COVID-19 vaccine for the month of March. Additionally, 32,720 first doses have been allocated to the federal Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS vaccine is managed by Alaska’s Tribal Health System. These two allocations total 93,480 first doses for March. An equal amount of second doses will be shipped to Alaska later in the month.

 

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In addition, Alaska, like all states, will be receiving a supplemental allocation of vaccine for February. This includes an additional 9,640 doses – 6,070 doses of state-allocated vaccine and 3,570 doses of IHS vaccine. The total for March plus the February supplemental amounts to 103,120 first doses coming into the state this month.

“This is a significant increase over last month’s total allocation of 59,600 first doses,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink. “Alaskans have been doing great work at getting shots into arms, fast and fair, and we’re excited this month to ramp up those efforts even more to protect Alaskans as quickly as possible with these safe and highly effective vaccines.”

The allocation includes Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines but does not include projected numbers for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is expected to receive emergency use authorization soon from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Today, the FDA released an analysis of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that supports this authorization. A panel of advisers to the FDA will meet Friday to evaluate the vaccine and make a recommendation. If authorized, Alaska could also receive an as-yet undetermined amount of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March.

The breakdown is as follows:

Image courtesy of Alaska DHSS

These March totals do not include federal vaccine allocated separately to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, or vaccine allocated to two federal vaccination programs: the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership and the Federally Qualified Health Center Vaccination Program. Additional vaccine will also be coming to Alaska in March through those federal allocations and programs.

DHSS today is also announcing three clarifications regarding who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine. State-allocated vaccine is now open to Phase 1a through Phase 1b, Tier 2.

  • Senior helpers are added to Phase 1b, Tier 1: People who assist someone 65 years of age or older in getting a vaccination are now eligible to be vaccinated at the same time. Both the senior and the person helping will need to schedule an appointment at the same location and time. The person assisting does not need to meet other eligibility requirements to receive the vaccine.
  • The definition of those whose work requires interaction with individuals in congregate settings is expanded in Phase 1b, Tier 2: Congregate settings may include people working in any system whose job responsibilities require them to interact with individuals residing in congregate settings (e.g. people who work in the judicial system). Note: This was previously limited to the judicial system.
  • Workers in health care settings is expanded in Phase 1a, Tier 3: Workers in health care settings includes people who stay home to provide health care for a medically fragile person. Eligible individuals provide daily support related to an individual’s activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, dressing, eating) and instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., shopping, laundry, light housework). Note: This previously included only those providing care for people age 65 and above.

In other good news, as of Feb. 23, 2021, at least 61% of those over age 65 had received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

For details about eligibility, please visit covidvax.alaska.gov or the vaccine eligibility webpage. We also encourage people to take the eligibility quiz to determine if they are currently eligible to receive state allocated vaccine.

Alaskans may also qualify for vaccine distributed and managed by Alaska’s Tribal health system, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Department of Defense (DOD). If you receive services through these providers, contact your local organization to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.

This press release was provided by the Alaska DHSS.