By SCOTT LEVESQUE
Appearing on the Must Read Alaska Show podcast, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said that Alaska would receive close to 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within the next two weeks.
Dunleavy detailed the state’s initial vaccine allocation, including:
- 35,100 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech
- 17,900 doses from Moderna
- 20,000+ doses for U.S. military personnel
- 30,000 doses for U.S. military dependents
The state’s distribution process will not include military service members; those will be handled through the military branches, but their allocation was included in the state’s overall vaccine dose count.
Additionally, Gov. Dunleavy outlined the first-phase distribution priority list, which includes the following recipients in order of priority:
- Hospital/Frontline Workers
- Long-Term Care Residents and Staff
- EMS/Fire Personnel
- Community Health Practitioners
- Personnel administering the vaccinations
The Alaska COVID-19 Task Force will begin the distribution process for Phase 1A recipients in December and January. With doses expected to arrive shortly, a state task force is working out a logistical process.
In Great Britain, the first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered today, approximately a year after the virus began circling the globe, killing more than 1.5 million people.
Doses of the vaccine will continue to trickle into Alaska until all vaccination requests have been fulfilled. Many of those vaccinations are expected to be administered by Native health organizations; Alaska Natives are experiencing a high mortality rate associated with the virus.
“Alaska will get a tremendous number of doses of this vaccine, and we will continue to get doses until the folks that wish to be vaccinated will be vaccinated,” Dunleavy said.
The governor shared his thoughts on state-mandated vaccinations:
“There will be no mandate to get a vaccination. I don’t believe in mandated vaccinations. Ever since I was a senator, and before that, when I was a school official, I don’t believe that people should be forced to get a vaccination, those vaccinations will be available for those who want them. So, rest assured – people of Alaska – there will be no mandating vaccinations from my administration or this government.”
For many Alaskans, the state’s economic fragility is of grave concern as 2020 comes to a close. And as daily COVID cases continue to rise, the prospect of an effective vaccine is a glimmer of hope.
Dunleavy understands the importance of a vaccine and the effect it will have on next year’s tourism season, and other aspects of an economic rebound in Alaska:
“The efficiency of these vaccinations is surprisingly pretty good — 90%. This [vaccine] is going to help us put the worst of this behind us. Because again, what we are planning for at this time is how we are going to get our economy up in time, especially tourism in the spring and summer.”