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Fairbanks Public Health Nurses postpone childhood immunizations, focus on contact tracing

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 5:43 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -

As COVID-19 cases rise in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Fairbanks Public Health Nurses have focused their efforts on contact tracing and other pandemic-related activities, temporarily postponing childhood immunizations.

Shelly Foint-Anderson, Public Health Nurse (PHN) Manager for the Dillingham and Fairbanks Public Health Center, explained that “Public Health Nursing right now is focusing on COVID response. It’s all hands on deck right now, which basically means that we are focusing on doing the contact tracing in our community. Right now, Fairbanks is seeing a surge in COVID cases, and we’re trying to provide that initial index follow-up.”

Foint-Anderson said the hope is to resume immunizations as soon as possible. “Our hope and goal is to resume those in the next month or so.”

She emphasized that more options for immunization are available in the community. “Public Health Nursing has always been another resource for immunization. There are plenty of providers in this community that may be doing this kind of work,” she said, adding, “We are just one resource.”

She encouraged those seeking immunizations for their child to contact their provider to see what’s being offered instead of waiting for PHN. Foint-Anderson said she knows that the Tanana Valley Clinic is providing services for their pediatric clients.

Foint-Anderson emphasized that up until a week ago, PHN was providing immunizations, and that the current focus of PHN on infectious disease response is happening statewide.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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