Emphasis in Alaska stays on vaccinating older residents News Staff

JUNEAU, Alaska — Eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccines in Alaska is expected to remain the same through much of February, with a continued focus on vaccinating those 65 and older, a vaccine official said Monday.

Tessa Walker Linderman, co-lead of Alaska’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, told reporters the state expects to learn soon what its vaccine allocation will be for February. She said officials did not expect any new eligibility tiers opening next month.

“We are really focused on 65 and older for the rest of February,” she said.

Alaska’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said the emphasis comes with wanting to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19.

Certain healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff also are among those currently eligible for vaccinations in Alaska.

Walker Linderman said she would not encourage people to wait outside pharmacies or clinics in hopes of getting a leftover shot that might otherwise be thrown out. She said providers are asked to have wait lists for those who meet eligibility criteria and to vaccinate individuals who fall within those eligibility tiers.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

The Associated Press

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