Many industries and groups, including teachers, are urging state officials to improve their qualifications for the COVID-19 vaccine, even though it is clear that Alaska’s funding this month has been exhausted.
At Monday’s hearing, several educators and the chairperson of the Anchorage Teachers’ Union urged the state’s vaccine distribution committee to promote teachers to “instant” vaccine status before starting K-2 and special in Anchorage. In-person learning of educational courses up to the sixth grade. The school district is about a week.
Dreyfus said: “This will have a significant impact on Alaska’s supply chain.”
But one provider begged the state not to add any other groups at all until no more vaccines were available.
Community health organization Mat-Su Health Services was forced to hire temporary employees to work 60 hours a week to keep up with callers. Some of the elderly were in tears because they did not have Internet or computer skills. Project coordinator Victoria Knapp testified that the release was A disaster.
Knapp said: “In order for the state to open up another group as soon as possible, we will withdraw from the program.”
The state’s vaccination program began in mid-December and involved first-line hospital staff and long-term care centers. It was expanded to include other health workers.
When the interest of some medical staff was lower than expected, the state introduced a series of public measures several weeks in advance after joining the qualification of Alaska 65.
Officials said they knew they did not have enough doses to vaccinate the estimated 90,000 Alaskans in the senior group, but they wanted to make sure nothing was wasted.
It may take a month and a half to vaccinate only people 65 years of age and older.
The next approved groups include prison inmates, correctional personnel and residents of homeless shelters, as well as “frontline basic workers” aged 50 and over, including teachers, emergency responders and workers in the seafood industry.
The state’s vaccine distribution advisory committee held a hearing on Monday to comment on the next phase afterwards. New York State proposes that this category includes people between the ages of 16 and 49 with high-risk medical conditions and any other essential workers.
The last committee meeting held at the end of December attracted more than 500 comments. Since then, the state has received more than 500 comments.
More than 20 people signed up to provide real-time comments on Monday afternoon, including those representing senior center staff and volunteers, as well as people with developmental disabilities who do not live in houses that already have vaccines.
It is also required to give priority to electric utilities, people with type 1 diabetes, and librarians, and to correct the next level, including lecturers, faculty, and student teachers at the University of Alaska, as well as students in collective housing and University of Alaska Fairbank Workers at the school in Sri Lanka.
Alaska health officials say that the state’s per capita vaccination volume ranks fourth in the country, but the vaccination volume is still “very limited.”
Alaska received 114,800 doses of vaccine from the federal government between December and January: 62,400 doses produced by Pfizer require ultra-cold storage, while 52,400 doses produced by Moderna Inc. This does not include funding from the federal military and veterans.
Health officials said in a Monday briefing that almost all of these doses have been told-before half of the month is over.
“We allocated more or less all of our vaccines for January,” said Tessa Walker Linderman, the country co-leader of the Alaska Vaccine Task Force.
Officials said that basically, although they have signed up more and more vaccine injections, there are not enough vaccines to deliver.
Officials say this does not mean that vaccines are no longer used. Some are left to long-term care centers, and some are set up for communities where they cannot be reached due to bad weather.
Some are also tied to large vaccine clinics that have yet to happen. An ongoing clinic at the Alaska Aviation Center in Anchorage will close on Tuesday, when another clinic is scheduled to open in Mat-Su, Alaska Fair. Plans to open other clinics in Juneau, Fairbanks and Homer.
A state dashboard shows that more than 29,000 people have received the necessary first dose of the two vaccinations, which killed more than 220 Alaskans, most of whom were over 60. Officials warned that dashboard data lags behind real-time, and there have actually been more shots given.
The Vaccine Allocation Advisory Committee meets on Tuesday and will review the comments submitted before and during the Monday hearing before making recommendations.
State officials urge patience with the process they admit can be improved.
The state’s medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said officials don’t yet know how many vaccines they might get in February.
Federal officials said they could send more supplies at any time. President-elect Biden said last week that he plans to release the most available dose of coronavirus vaccine.
But considering the fine storage requirements and other complications of vaccine distribution, Zink said that she does not expect the situation to change suddenly on January 20 after Biden is sworn in.
In response to the teacher’s request, she said: “The state just doesn’t have too many vaccines.” “I hope we have more and we hope to launch it as soon as possible.”
For more information about vaccination, the public can visit covidvax.alaska.gov or call 907-646-3322 and leave a message. Officials said the call should be answered within a day, although some users reported that the waiting time was much longer.