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Update on COVID-19 Vaccination in the YK Delta

Click HERE to download this update and FAQ.

In mid-December, YKHC received just over 4,000 initial and individual doses of both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccine doses came from two different places, the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the State of Alaska.

How is vaccine supply being allocated?
Supply of COVID-19 vaccine is highly dependent on federal and state distribution, and changes without warning. Because the State of Alaska is waiting for its vaccine allocation from the federal government for January, YKHC does not yet know how much vaccine it will next receive from the State or IHS and by when. Vaccine distribution is not equal and based on population. Instead federal and state governments are seeking to make distribution equitable and meet the greatest need.

When will I qualify for vaccination?
Due to global demand for COVID-19 vaccine, complex storage and distribution logistics, and early supply constraints as vaccine production ramps up, the vaccine is being prioritized and given in four phases (phase 1A, 1B, 1C, and 2).

The phases are defined by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the State of Alaska. The phases seek to preserve life and functions of society. While each entity has slightly different criteria and definition of these phases have not been made final by the entities, the definitions are generally expected to be:

  • Phase 1A – long-term care residents, eligible healthcare workers, community health aides and practitioners, and frontline EMS and fire service personnel. These definitions were finalized by both the CDC and State of Alaska.
  • Phase 1B – frontline essential workers and elders. This definition was finalized by the CDC, but not yet by the State of Alaska.
  • Phase 1C – adults over 65 and individuals age 16-64 with chronic health conditions. This definition was finalized by the CDC, but not yet by the State of Alaska.
  • Phase 2 – the general public. This definition has not been finalized by the CDC or the State of Alaska.

Work by the CDC and State of Alaska on defining these categories continues. Changes occur weekly, and sometimes daily.

The 4,000 doses of vaccine YKHC received in December include an IHS allocation for phases 1A and 1B, as well as an allocation from the State of Alaska for phase 1A only.

How many vaccines have been administered in the YK Delta?
To date, YKHC has distributed roughly 1,120 vaccinations throughout the YK Delta from the December vaccine allocation. Vaccinations are on-going.

Approximately 650 individuals have been vaccinated as part of phase 1A, with about 590 remaining. Some of those remaining have declined vaccination. 

Although the State of Alaska continues to define its phase 1B vaccine guidelines, YKHC has used its IHS vaccine allocation to begin vaccinating phase 1B frontline essential workers and elders age 65+. To date, approximately 470 elders and phase 1B frontline workers have been vaccinated.

To preserve life and in-region healthcare resources, YKHC has chosen to prioritize our current vaccine inventory for YK Delta elders age 65+.

How will I be informed when I qualify for vaccination?
The current phase of vaccine distribution is highly dependent on how much vaccine YKHC receives from federal and state partners, which we do not know and cannot predict at this time.

Currently, YKHC is vaccinating phases 1A and 1B. Changes and updates to the current vaccination phase will be published on YKHC’s website, official Facebook page, and provided in multiple channels to community partners.

I live in a YKHC service area village, how will I get a vaccine in my village?
Due to necessary temperature storage for the vaccines, distribution requirements, and weather conditions, YKHC is providing village-based vaccination in scheduled waves.

This week, YKHC traveled to several communities to refine the village-based vaccination process. Beginning next week, YKHC will begin ramping up village-based vaccinations of elders and phase 1B frontline essential workers. YKHC will work closely with tribes and cities throughout this process.

If I am eligible, how do I schedule a vaccination?

YK Delta Elders, age 65+
If you are an elder in Bethel, age 65+, you can schedule a vaccination by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 543-6949. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. If your call is not immediately answered, please leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, date of birth and your call will be returned within 3 business days.

If you are an elder in a village, age 65+, you will be called by YKHC staff to schedule a vaccination when providers travel to your community to conduct village-based vaccinations. Remember, YKHC is providing village-based vaccination in scheduled waves.

Phase 1B frontline essential workers
Whether you are a Bethel or village-based frontline essential worker, if you are interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, please fill out the online form at: https://tinyurl.com/y7reeyst.

Upon review of the federal and state guidelines, YKHC will contact eligible individuals directly to schedule a vaccination. Please note, completion of this form does not automate a vaccine appointment. Similar to village-based elder vaccinations, village-based frontline essential workers will be vaccinated in scheduled waves.

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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.