Alaska Is First State to Provide Vaccines to All Residents 16 and Over
Anyone 16 or older who live or work in Alaska is now eligible for the vaccine, Governor Mike Dunleavy said Tuesday evening. This makes it the first state to grant all residents access to the vaccine.
According to a New York Times database, Alaska has 16 percent of its population fully vaccinated, the highest in the country.
“If Alaskans had any questions about vaccine eligibility and criteria, I hope today’s announcement clears that up for you,” said Adam Crum, commissioner for the state health department. “Simply put, you are eligible to receive the vaccine.”
Mr Dunleavy encouraged all “Alaskans who are considering” to get vaccinated, adding that the vaccine “now gives us an opportunity in Alaska to outperform other states.”
The Alaska announcement came as other states were rapidly expanding access to vaccines. New York and Minnesota announced Tuesday that they would allow large swaths of their populations to do so.
The pace of vaccination in the United States has continued to accelerate. About 2.15 million doses are administered daily, according to a New York Times database. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that about 61.1 million people had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 32.1 million people completely using Johnson’s single-dose vaccine & Johnson or the two-dose series from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Some parts of Alaska have reached 90 percent vaccination rates among seniors, the governor said in a statement. In the Nome Census Area, over 60 percent of residents aged 16 and over received at least one shot.
“We want to get our economy up and running again. We want to get our society up and running again, ”said Dunleavy. “We want to leave this virus behind us – as far as possible, as quickly as possible.”
The Pfizer vaccine is available to people aged 16 years and over in Alaska, while Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are available to people aged 18 years and over.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday that his state would lower the age threshold for Covid-19 vaccine approval starting Wednesday so that anyone over the age of 60 can be vaccinated.
New York State will also open vaccination ratings next week for large numbers of publicly available workers, including government employees, nonprofits and essential building services workers. These people can start vaccinating on March 17th.
New York will join a handful of other US states in allowing vaccinations for anyone over 60. The majority have set their minimum age for admission to 65 years.
During a performance in Syracuse, Mr. Cuomo pointed out the expected increase in the offer of the federal government as a reason for the expansion of the vaccine authorization.
Workers who can be vaccinated next week include civil servants, social workers and social workers, government inspectors, plumbing workers, election workers, Department of Motor Vehicles and county clerks.
According to Cuomo, appointments for people over 60 will be opened from Wednesday at 8 a.m. People over 65 were able to qualify for a vaccine in January.
Elsewhere, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced Tuesday that the state would expand eligibility to more than 1.8 million Minnesotans this week, including key workers in industries such as hospitality and public transportation, and those aged 45 and over with at least an underlying disease. The announcement is “weeks ahead of schedule,” the governor said in a statement, as the state aims to meet its target of vaccinating 70 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older this week.
Ohio residents aged 50 and over and those with certain conditions that were not yet eligible can get a vaccine this week, Governor Mike DeWine announced on Monday. And South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced Monday that residents 55 and older, high-risk individuals 16 and older, and some frontline workers are eligible.