Alaska 1st state to make COVID vaccine available to everyone over 16

Alaska will allow anyone in the state over the age of 16 to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Michael Dunleavy (R) announced Tuesday night, adding the measure is “effective immediately.”  Alaska is the first state to allow people under 18 to get vaccinated and the first to remove eligibility requirements.

Registered Nurse Banu Mufale administers a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to physical therapist Becca Mamrol on Dec. 16, 2020, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska.(LOREN HOLMES/ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS/AP)

 “The Pfizer vaccine is available to individuals who are 16 and older, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and Moderna vaccine are available to individuals who are 18 and older,” per a statement from the governor’s office.This is in line with FDA recommendations.

Governor Dunleavy

Alaska last week made the vaccines available to people over 16 with a condition that puts them at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or essential workers not covered by earlier provisions for the health, seniors and care sectors

WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS task force members in January praised Alaska for being one of the states leading the nation in vaccination rates. As of March 4, 22% of the state population has received at least one vaccine dose and 14.9% has been fully vaccinated, according to the state’s vaccine monitoring dashboard. That means more than 268,000 vaccine doses have been given out in the state with a population of more than 731,500. That translates to more than 108,000 people vaccinated, mainly among people ages 60-69 years old.

Part of Alaska’s success in vaccinating so many of its population is its ability to receive vaccine allocations from various sources, including the Indian Health Service (IHS), to account for Alaska’s 229 sovereign tribes as well as its large veteran population. Per the state dashboard, a large amount of the vaccines have gone to Native American and Alaska Native residents

Source: Axios and NBC and US News