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Alaska has opened its COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone living and working in its state who is 16-years-old and older. They became the first state to do so in the United States on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The Governor of Alaska, Mike Dunleavy, calls the move a “game-changer.”
He then dropped the age requirements for his state to include people aged 16 and up. Dunleavy further stated, “A healthy community means a healthy economy.” Having COVID-19 vaccines obtainable “to all Alaskans who” works and resides in the state “will no doubt see our economy grow.” It will also help their “businesses thrive.”
Currently, the Pfizer shot is available to anyone 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to those 18 and older. All three of these vaccines have been shown to be effective against COVID-19. These vaccines have helped prevent severe illnesses, deaths, and hospitalizations.
Many other states in the U.S. have been steadily making progress to make vaccinations available to frontline workers, vulnerable residents, and older adults. The progress made for vaccinations has been welcoming news for a new year with the pandemic.
COVID-19 has taken more than 520,000 lives in the U.S. alone. Over 123 million COVID vaccines have been distributed throughout the Nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 93.6 million vaccines have been administered. The CDC has been tracking the COVID-19 vaccines with a data tracker.
The Alaskan governor stated that some regions, including the Petersburg Borough, Kodiak Island, and Kusilvak Census Area, are close to or exceeding 90 percent vaccinating its seniors. Furthermore, Alaska’s Nome Census Area — with over 10,000 residents — has given the first dose of the vaccine to people 16 or older by 60 percent.
So far Alaska has received 288,000 COVID-19 vaccines. According to Alaska state data, they have vaccinated 170,993 people as of March 9. Further data from the state’s Department of Health and Social Services reports around 57,304 people have contracted the virus. Data further says that 301 people have died from COVID-19.
Written by Sheena Robertson
NPR: Alaska Opens Vaccines To Everyone Over 16; by Jaclyn Diaz
Featured Image Courtesy of Frank Camp’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image by Alaska Governor’s Office Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License