Update | 7:50 p.m.
Juneau officials are getting more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in February, but not as many as they had hoped.
“We’ll be receiving another tray of Pfizer,” said City Emergency Manager Robert Barr during a weekly city update on Tuesday.
A tray is technically 975 doses, but the Pfizer vials have been coming with a few extra doses.
“We generally plan for around 1100,” Barr said.
The city is also getting about 500 more doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“That’s a little bit lower a number than we had hoped, to be honest,” Barr said. “We certainly have the capacity to administer more than that.”
The city could organize another mass vaccination event, like the one it held earlier in January.
Other providers in Juneau have requested additional doses of the vaccines as well and many maintain their own waitlists.
There are seven providers in Juneau registered with the state.
- Costco Pharmacy
- Fred Meyer Pharmacy
- Genoa Healthcare LLC
- Juneau Public Health Center
- Juneau Urgent & Family Care
- Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe
- Safeway Pharmacy
But, the 1,475 doses of the vaccine that are supposed to come to Juneau in February will likely not be split equally between each of the local providers.
Nurse manager with the Alaska Division of Public Health Alison Gottschlisch told the Juneau Assembly on Monday that the state is changing that part of the vaccine rollout.
Up until now the process has been that an individual provider, like Ron’s Apothecary, would reach out to the state with a request for vaccine doses for the upcoming month. Then the state would get its doses from the federal government and would determine how much each local provider would get.
Now, that’s going to be the city’s responsibility. Gottschlisch said Juneau’s vaccine task force will be deciding how many doses go to which providers.
That task force has members from the state’s public health department, the city, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska and Capital City Fire/Rescue.
In response to questions about how the task force would decide which clinics get doses, and how much — City Emergency Manager Robert Barr said there are a lot of criteria but one big one.
“The first thing that we look at is how quickly we can get that vaccine into arms,” he said.
That means mass vaccination events — like the one the city recently held that saw more than 1,100 people vaccinated in one weekend — are ideal.
But, he said, the city also wants other providers to keep vaccinating because as the city receives more and more doses, they’ll need every provider who can administer them to be ready to do it.
City officials also urged Juneau residents to be careful, even if they have already been vaccinated.
Especially because the state announced on Tuesday that it had found its first case of a more contagious strain of COVID-19 that has made headlines globally.
But that Anchorage resident tested positive more than a month ago. Barr said that the state is doing viral genetic sequencing — the process that’s required to find that more contagious variant of COVID-19 — on just 4 to 5 percent of the positive COVID-19 tests.
“That’s a good number compared to the rest of the country, but it’s still only 4 to 5 percent,” he said. “So chances are good that there is more of that variant going around.”
Juneau city officials are holding their weekly COVID-19 community update at 4 p.m. today. You can watch on this post, on the City and Borough of Juneau’s Facebook page or on Zoom. The public can submit questions in advance to CovidQuestions@juneau.org.
As of today, city officials know of four new cases among Juneau residents. Currently, there are 30 people who have tested positive for the virus in the city.
City emergency officials report administering 1,182 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during a recent mass vaccination event. A follow-up clinic for the second dose will be held Feb. 5 through 7 at Centennial Hall. So far, about 4,479 people in Juneau have received their first dose of a vaccine, according to state data.
Vaccine eligibility is limited mainly to people age 65 and up or frontline health care workers.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the state is doing viral genetic sequencing on a significantly larger proportion of positive COVID-19 tests than it actually is, the true percentage is somewhere between 4-5 percent.