Last week, Alaska became the first state in the country to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 16 or older, doing away with the complicated tiered system it had been operating from for the past few months. This welcome news was in very large part due to tribal health care organizations partnering with the state and municipalities and sharing their federal allocations of vaccines with everyone. This is happening in Oklahoma, too, where the Chickasaw Nation is offering the vaccine to all residents of the state, regardless of tribal status or employment.
I got my first shot in the series over the weekend at the vaccine clinic organized by the city and Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, among other partners. It was an honor to be there, to share in the generosity of Alaska's sovereign tribes, to celebrate our journey toward shared immunity among neighbors. There was live music. The volunteers congratulated me. There were smiles behind all the masks. It was a huge boost to the pandemic funk I've been in and a beautiful reminder of what community is and does for us all.
-- Jennifer Pemberton, KTOO Managing Editor