ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska health officials said the state plans on receiving almost 53,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines in January from drug companies Pfizer and Moderna.
That figure is about 7,000 fewer vaccines than the state received in December. Health officials did not say Wednesday when exactly the doses will arrive, but the Anchorage Daily News reported that it would likely take place early in the new year.
Currently, only front-line health care workers in hospitals, residents and employees at long-term care facilities, emergency personnel, community health aides and people conducting vaccinations are eligible to be inoculated in Alaska.
Starting on Jan. 4, another tier of people will begin receiving vaccines. That group includes people working in health care that are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, are considered essential to the health care system and do regular work that can’t be done remotely or postponed. Vaccine appointments for that group began on Wednesday.
A federal advisory committee said in December that the next groups of people to be vaccinated should include other front-line essential workers and people older than 75, followed by people 65 years and older along with young people with high-risk medical conditions that can increase the risk of a severe coronavirus infection.
It is up to each state to decide which workers or groups of people are to be inoculated first.
Almost 50 Alaska residents spoke at a public hearing on Monday to advocate for their demographic to be included in the next vaccination group. That group included teachers, older adults and seafood industry workers, the Daily News reported.
The Alaska Vaccine Advisory Committee has received nearly 400 written comments from residents.
Alaska has so far vaccinated over 13,000 people, according to a state tracker last updated on Monday. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Wednesday, almost 2.8 million virus vaccinations had been administered.