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Fairbanks Public Health holds largest vaccination event yet

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 4:26 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Public Health held their largest COVID-19 vaccination event to date this week at the Carlson Center.

Fairbanks Public Health has held several such clinics at the Carlson Center, but this week they vaccinated around 1,800 in one day.

This event held on March 4th ran for longer than previous vaccination clinics. As the event was underway Dr. Mark Simon, an emergency physician with the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital explained, ”We scheduled about 180 people per hour, and yes we’ll be going for about ten hours, maybe a little bit longer depending on the flow.”

Vaccinations on this scale are possible due to a variety of factors. Shelly Foint-Anderson, Nurse Manager for Fairbanks Public Health told us, “What’s different from a month ago is that we have lots of help and lots of support. We have actually gone to a paperless system where everything is done through the computer. We have a wonderful command team that has worked diligently to get the flow of our clinic so it runs at ease, and I think we’ve done a lot of practicing and tweaking and have worked out the bugs to make this as great an event as possible - and will continue to make it even better.”

Parking for residents receiving vaccines were been moved to the back of the Carlson Center due to the increase in spaces needed.

Those who receive the vaccine can also participate in a CDC program. Dr. Simon elaborated, “People are coming in, they get registered, and then get vaccinated. [They] then have a period of 15 to 30 minutes of observation, and then they get to go. During that observation time during the first clinic, we’re encouraging people to sign up for their second dose. Then they also have the opportunity to sign up for this really cool CDC program called V-Safe, which just checks in with them periodically to see if they’re having any symptoms from the vaccination.”

The increase in vaccinations coincided with the opening of Tier 1c which allows many more residents to be vaccinated.

“So, for anyone who’s not aware, go to covidvax.alaska.gov and you can find an eligibility quiz to see if you’re eligible for vaccination. The State of Alaska opened up eligibility to a large number of people including everyone over 55, and people 16 and older who have certain medical conditions that your provider thinks make you an increased risk, as well as essential workers who are 16 and older. So again we encourage everyone to find out if you’re eligible and come get vaccinated,” said Dr. Simon.

Public Health is still looking for volunteers to assist with their large scale vaccination events. Foint-Anderson told us, “We are always in need of volunteers, and now there’s a great way of volunteering. There is a website which is at fairbanksacc.org, and we encourage anybody who wants to support this endeavor to please get online. We don’t need you to be a professional or licensed. We have lots of jobs available for those that just want to come and help - help people walk in the door, help people get registered for a second dose. So please, if you are someone who wants to volunteer and support your community, that would be a great way to help us do these.”

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