Valdez COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

Last updated 01.22.2021, 1:00 p.m.

Valdez Unified Command continues to closely monitor the progress of COVID-19 vaccine development. 

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COVID-19 Vaccine in Alaska

COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA are highly effective for the protection of the patient and prevention of severe illness. However, it remains unknown whether vaccinated individuals can carry the virus and transmit it to others. Those vaccinated must continue to take precautions to protect those around them, including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and practicing good hygiene. As of now, vaccinated individuals must also still follow State of Alaska requirements for testing and quarantine due to travel. Visit the state's COVID-19 vaccine website to learn more: covidvax.alaska.gov.

Vaccine Specific Information
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna immunizations require two doses of vaccine given over a period of time. Current science shows immunity is not immediate following vaccination and may also require future booster immunizations. 

CDC states cost will not be a barrier to receiving COVID-19 vaccination. The State of Alaska is working to ensure all Alaskans have access to the vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.

Statewide Vaccine Allocation & Eligibility

Supplies of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine are available in Alaska. Vaccine supply is currently very limited and available only to specific populations in a phased approached based upon federal and state guidelines. 

The State of Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Committee determined those currently eligible for vaccination include:

  • OPEN NOW - Phase 1A: Tiers One, Two, and Three
    • Hospital based front line healthcare workers at highest risk for COVID-19 infection.
    • Long-term care facility residents and staff.
    • EMS and firefighters who provide emergency medical services.
    • Community health aides and practitioners.
    • Individuals who are required to perform vaccinations.
    • Workers in health care settings at highest risk of contracting COVID-19 who are essential to the health care infrastructure and who regularly provide health care services that cannot be postponed or provided remotely.
  • OPEN NOW - Phase 1B: Tier One
    • Elders age 65 and older.
  • COMING SOON - Phase 1B: Tier Two
    • Frontline essential workers who are aged 50 years and older and whose work related duties must be performed on-site and involve being in close proximity (less than six feet) to the public or co-workers.

      “Frontline essential workers” under this tier are specifically defined as those who work in childcare and education, first responders and public safety personnel, food and agriculture workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and U.S Postal Service workers. (Other categories of workers fall in this Tier for rural communities off the road system, which does not apply for the Valdez area.)
       
    • People living or working in other congregate settings not covered in Phase 1A.

On Dec. 31, the State of Alaska published the complete list of those eligible for vaccination now and in the future within Phase 1B. However, no additional information is available at this time regarding the timeline for vaccine distribution other than the current open phases and tiers. Click here to view the full eligibility list for Phase 1B. 

Please note, Alaska’s distribution process and phases/tiers do not include military service members or Valdez Native Tribe members. They will be vaccinated separately through a direct federal or Indian Health Service allocation. Timing of eligibility under the direct federal or Indian Health Service allocations may differ from timing of eligibility under the state allocation.   

Click here to read more about Alaska's vaccine availability and allocation.

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Schedule Your Vaccine Appointment (2)


COVID-19 Vaccine in Valdez

Vaccine is allocated in Valdez based upon state and federal guidelines. Local officials do not make allocation decisions. 

The Valdez Unified Command’s Vaccine Task Force, comprised of members of the local medical community, public health, city staff, Valdez Native Tribe representatives, and others, work together to determine logistics for vaccine distribution based upon state/federal allocation guidelines. 

IMG_0334Local Vaccine Distribution
Regular shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech and/or Moderna vaccine will be ordered as needed based upon state allocation guidelines for distribution.

The local process used for initial distribution groups consists of several closed point of dispensing (POD) clinics, similar to what is practiced for flu vaccine each fall in Valdez. A closed POD is a smaller, focused event just for a specific population. Closed PODs are scheduled in advance and open by appointment only. Exact processes for the closed PODs will be determined by each POD manager, based on state and federal guidance. 

Local Appointment Process for Vaccine
Appointments for closed PODs are required for COVID-19 vaccination to verify eligibility, ensure equity of distribution, and provide time for the standard 15 to 30 minute post vaccination observation period.

Those individuals in Valdez who qualify under Phase 1A and Phase 1B - Tier 1 must sign-up for an appointment. If you fall into one of those categories, live in Valdez or a surrounding small community, and still need your first dose, please sign-up using one of the following options:IMG_0376

  • Preferred Appointment Scheduling Option: Make a vaccination appointment online using the state's website (covidvax.alaska.gov). Please note, the scheduling button will only be shown when appointment slots are available. Check back often as new appointment options will be added regularly.
  • Alternate Appointment Scheduling Option: Make a vaccination appointment by phone. Call the DHSS Valdez Public Health Clinic at 907.835.4612 during regular business hours to make an appointment.

Those in Phase 1A and Phase 1B - Tier 1 will make an appointment for their second dose of vaccine during their first dose appointment. Both doses must be the same brand of vaccine. The state requests those receiving vaccination arrange their schedule to receive their first and second doses through the same provider/clinic location.

POD 7Future Vaccine Distribution
Once vaccine becomes available in greater supply, community members should anticipate public notification and vaccine distribution will mirror the processes used for flu vaccine point of dispensing practiced every fall in Valdez. 

No additional information is available at this time regarding the timeline for future phases beyond Phase 1B - Tier 1. No sign-up or future vaccine reservation option is available at this time to anyone except those eligible under Phase 1A and Phase 1B - Tier 1.

Please note, Alaska’s distribution process and specific phases/tiers do not include military service members or Valdez Native Tribe members. They will be vaccinated separately through a direct federal or Indian Health Service allocation. Timing of eligibility under the direct federal or Indian Health Service allocations may differ from timing of eligibility under the state's phases/tiers.IMG_0349 

Logistical Support for Community Partners
The City of Valdez recently purchased specialized refrigeration units designed to support cold and/or frozen storage of the several different types of vaccine currently available or in development. The City also received COVID-19 vaccine storage depot designation from the State of Alaska in the event storage support is needed for community partners or nearby communities in the future.  

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Copy of Valdez Vaccine Dashboard 01222021

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Volunteers Needed for Valdez COVID-19 Vaccination Point of Dispensing (POD) Clinics

All skill levels welcome!

The following volunteers are needed to help with upcoming Valdez vaccination clinics:POD 4

  • Registration Personnel - Help patients complete registration, collect completed paperwork, and check patients out of the clinic once they are finished.
  • General Logistics - Help set-up/pack-up the clinic location, direct patients through the clinic stations, move supplies between stations, and help with monitoring patients post-vaccination.
  • Medically Trained/Licensed Personnel - Help triage patients, administer vaccinations, and monitor patients post-vaccination.

If you are interested in volunteering for an upcoming clinic, please reach out to the Valdez Unified Command volunteer coordinator, Rhea Cragun at rcragun@valdezak.gov or 907.834.3416.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

Many factors related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution remain unknown. Keeping you informed is an important part of the process. 

As you explore vaccine options for yourself and your family, we encourage you to seek out credible sources for science based information, such as CDC, DHSS, and your healthcare provider. 

Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/ and http://covidvax.alaska.gov for the latest updates and to view specifics on different types of vaccines.