Statement on Documenting COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, YKHC has remained focused on protecting the health and well-being of the people across the YK Delta. Our teams continue to work diligently to prevent the spread of this terrible disease. Led by President & CEO Dan Winkelman, Vice President of Hospital Services Jim Sweeney, and our Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges, our top priority has been to minimize the heartbreaking impacts and unnecessary loss of life felt by families who call our region home. 

We have seen firsthand how the virus spreads quickly and undetected, having devastating impacts. Our frontline healthcare workers have been working tirelessly under challenging conditions for many months providing care to critically ill COVID-19 patients in the face of staffing shortages, logistical challenges, and sharing in the heartache and grief of families who lost someone to the virus too soon.

The first allocation of vaccine will arrive in our region today and vaccinations will begin first thing tomorrow. The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine is a momentous occasion and brings with it hope for a new day; however, we are not out of the dark of this pandemic yet. In order to ensure our limited staff and capacity are focused appropriately on the complicated logistics of rolling out this life-saving and highly fragile vaccine, YKHC will continue to limit external access, including media personnel, to our campus during initial vaccine distribution. We cannot compromise the privacy of our patients or our healthcare providers, nor our security and focus as we concentrate on safe deployment of this invaluable resource. 

YKHC is committed to developing trusted processes that will serve as the backbone for broader vaccine distribution in our entire region. We also acknowledge that in this environment and at this time, our providers are a priority too, and we will care for them as we care for others.

Please join YKHC for a virtual town hall about the COVID-19 vaccine on December 21 at 1 p.m. You’ll hear from President & CEO Dan Winkelman, Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges, Dr. Larry Corey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), IHS Director RADM Michael Weahkee, IHS Alaska Area Director Evangelyn Dotomain, and other NIH and IHS partners for an update on the COVID-19 vaccine, https://fb.me/e/1UNNCQbVz

We’re also hosting an information session with the State of Alaska on December 22 about the COVID-19 vaccine with YKHC Chief of Staff Dr. Ellen Hodges, Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, and DHSS Nurse Tessa Walker Linderman, https://fb.me/e/39twuHZSd

As a Tribal Health Organization, YKHC is guided by the wisdom and values of our Tribes and the Yup’ik, Cup’ik, and Athabascan cultures of this land. The region we work for is part of the fabric of who we are as a healthcare organization. We look forward to sharing our progress and the historic work we are doing this week directly with you, our customers. Thank you for understanding our extra level of care through this work. YKHC remains here for you and your families.

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COVID-19: Call Before Seeking Care

If you have symptoms like a fever, cough or shortness of breath, do not go to your village clinic and do not go to the Emergency Room in Bethel. Instead, call your village clinic, or in Bethel, call 543-6949.