COVID-19 vaccine is available now at several locations on the Southern Kenai Peninsula for people who qualify. Anyone over the age of 55 can get the vaccine along with essential workers of any age, people who live in multigenerational households and people who work in congregate settings.
There are still about 50 appointments left for this Friday's vaccination clinic at Homer High School, and shots are also administered Safeway and Ulmer's pharmacies, Kachemak Medical Center, SVT Health and Wellness, Ninilchik Traditional Council Clinic and at South Peninsula Hospital's Drive-up Test and Vaccine Site at 4201 Bartlett Street.
At Monday night's regular meeting of the Homer City Council, The Council extended the City's emergency declaration through June 29th, and Homer's Unified Command delivered their report, citing a 2% positivity rate for testing through SPH over the last week.
As of Monday, 23% of Alaskans have received their first dose of vaccine and 16% have received both doses which means thousands of vaccines have already been administered on the Southern Peninsula. Nurse Lorne Carroll updated Council on new, relaxed CDC guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated - meaning that it has been two weeks since their second dose of vaccine.
" You can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physically distancing. You can visit with unvaccinated people from a single household, but when introducing different people from other households, it is still not recommended. And then, folks no longer have to quarantine after being exposed if it's been at least two weeks since you completed the vaccination series and, you're asymptomatic," said Nurse Carroll.
Unified Command is also working on a plan to partner with Kachemak City officials to jointly access State funds that would be used to create seven mass vaccination clinics in the area, four drive-through or pop-up vaccination events and targeted outreach for local homeless people and other underserved and hard to reach populations.
City of Homer Information Officer Jenny Carroll advised the Council to travel with caution during the upcoming spring break season. The State of Alaska is still recommending that travelers get a COVID test before and after travel and that they limit contact with others while waiting for the result.
"And the main reason for that, even if you've been traveling in a place with not a lot of transmission, is that it's a really good tool for the State to try to prevent the entry and transmission of some of the variants that are found more prevalently in other places," said Carroll.
To make an appointment for this Friday's vaccination clinic at Homer High School or to sign up for a vaccine at the Drive-up Test and Vaccine Site at 4201 Bartlett Street, go to South Peninsula Hospital's website, sphosp.org. SPH has a COVID helpline for anyone with questions about COVID symptoms, testing and vaccines. That number is 235-0235. You can also make appointments for vaccination at Ulmer's and Safeway's websites, or contact your local healthcare provider. For a complete list of who is eligible for the vaccine, go to the State of Alaska website.