As active COVID-19 cases decrease in Kodiak, vaccine distribution is well underway

COVID-19 vaccination efforts are well underway in Kodiak. Dr. John Koller of Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care says there’s a good supply.

Koller says a shipment of just under 1,000 Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines is in cold storage at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center and has begun to be distributed to medical providers.

While Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center would not give specifics on the distribution process, citing “security reasons,” it did say that a meaningful number of “frontline” health care workers had received the vaccine, along with some assisted living facility residents. Providence issued this written statement on its role in distributing the vaccine; “Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center has been asked to be a storage hub for the vaccine in Kodiak and does not have the authority to make decisions on who can receive the vaccine. Those decisions are coming from the State of Alaska; more information on vaccinations for the general public will come from the State in the weeks and months ahead.”

The Kodiak Area Native Association, or KANA, says some of their healthcare employees have received vaccinations.

Some KANA specialists have gone to some of the villages around the island- with the help of a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew- to distribute the vaccine to health care workers off of the road system.

Kodiak Community Health Center staff have received vaccine supplies as well, with their doses stored at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center.

Kodiak Island Ambulatory Care staff have not yet received vaccines, according to Dr. Koller, but that process will begin within the next few days.

He says the Ambulatory Care facility has a deep freezer that could store up to 30,000 doses of the vaccine, but currently all doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are stored at the hospital.

The Coast Guard is assuming responsibility for vaccinating its own staff. The Coast Guard did not respond to requests for comment on their distribution plans in time for this story, but according to a Coast Guard pharmacist, Air Station Kodiak has received a shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Long-term vaccination plans remain murky for Kodiak- and indeed, the rest of Alaska. There is no set date on when more shipments of the vaccine will arrive in Kodiak, or when those vaccines will begin to be distributed to the general public. According to guidelines set by the state government, healthcare workers, long term care residents and staff, and first responders are the primary focus for this phase of vaccine distribution.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include comment from Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center and information from the Coast Guard.

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