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Alaska leads nation with highest COVID-19 vaccination rate per capita

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:13 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The State of Alaska leads the nation with the highest per capita COVID-19 vaccination rate.

With over 80,000 people having received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, Alaska has swiftly distributed the states allotted doses.

“We’re super excited to have vaccines in the state, and available to give to people. We all know it’s been a long slough since March when we first experienced COVID-19 and everyone is super excited to have an incredibly effective and very safe vaccine available. We wish we had more, but whatever comes into the state, we are working to get into people’s arms as quickly as possible - and whatever comes into the Interior region, we’re doing the same, trying to get it into people’s arms as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Mark Simon, Emergency Physician at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

While limited due to the amount of vaccine available, the quick and effective distribution of vaccines is due to a few factors.

“I think we’re fortunate for a lot of reasons. I think we have an incredibly effective state leadership team, and we have a lot of Alaskans that are putting in effort and putting in time and energy to contribute to it. Whether it’s getting vaccinated themselves, whether it’s signing up seniors that they know and helping them get vaccinated, whether it’s picking up a senior who can’t get to a vaccination place and driving them there, it’s just a full community effort here in the Interior and a statewide effort trying to get people vaccinated,” said Dr. Simon.

Alaska also faces its own unique challenges when distributing the vaccine, including covering large stretches of territory and remote areas.

“I think distance is one, probably the biggest one, the storage nature of Pfizer with the cold storage, and then I think our weather. One tool that some locales are using are outdoor drive-up vaccinations sites. That’s a little less practical for us right now but it may become more practical in the future. Fortunately, again in spite of the obstacles, we just have a really dynamic population that likes to come up with novel solutions,” said Dr. Simon.

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