By Melinda Munson
Skagway received its first shipment of Moderna vaccines in late December. Medical professionals, first responders, Emergency Operations Center members and one of Skagway’s most at-risk residents were given their first inoculation.
Skagway’s oldest resident, Bea Lingle, age 93, continues to struggle with lung issues after contracting COVID-19 last fall. Lingle was invited by Dahl Memorial Clinic (DMC) to receive her first dose of Moderna on New Year’s Eve.
Other community members are still waiting.
Unlike Haines, which has opened up COVID-19 immunizations to anyone who is currently a registered SEARHC patient, Skagway’s COVID-19 vaccination roll out has been more limited.
“We appreciate the community’s understanding and patience. Changes at the federal level give us hope that vaccine supply will be more plentiful in the coming months,” said Este Fielding, clinic director for DMC.
The difference in availability is due to the fact that communities are supplied the COVID-19 vaccine by different entities. Haines’ SEARHC clinic received their vaccines from Indian Health Services, while DMC is waiting on the state to supply more Moderna shots.
Skagway residents who received their first vaccine are already scheduled for their second dose in the two-shot series. Patients unsure of the date and time of their second inoculation should call the clinic.
The next tier to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines are those age 65 and older (Phase 1B Tier 1). The clinic does not currently have a date for the upcoming vaccine shipment. As there are 90,000 residents in Alaska who fall under this category, Skagwegians will have to continue to be patient.
More information on the Moderna vaccine and its scheduled phasing can be found at http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/epi/id/pages/COVID-19/vaccine.aspx
While DMC is an approved COVID-19 vaccine provider, they are not utilizing the state registrations system.
Individuals who receive their first inoculation in Skagway should plan to be in town 28 days later for their second dose.
Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who recently recovered from the disease should continue to wear masks in public and practice social distancing.