By Melinda Munson
As of Feb.18, 840 single doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Skagway residents, according to Borough Manager Brad Ryan.
Of the 840 doses, 277 were second doses. By March 5, an estimated 560 Skagwegians will be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The current population of Skagway is believed to be around 800, the number of residents who applied for CARES funding in December.
“If you remove 80 kids from the population, you would have a vaccination rate of 78% of the adult population,” Ryan said.
Most children do not qualify for vaccination. The Moderna vaccine is currently available for those 18 and over while The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and up. Dahl Memorial Clinic started a waitlist for 16 and 17 year olds for the Pfizer vaccine, but has not yet scheduled appointments. Ryan estimates there are between 10-20 individuals in this age group.
According to NPR, 12.4% of U.S. residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and according to The New York Times, 18% of all Alaskans have received their first dose. This is surprising, given the size of Alaska and the remoteness of many communities. Snow machines, boats, seaplanes, ferries and sled dogs have all been employed to transport the vaccine to smaller communities. Alaska received a high number of doses from Indian Affairs which were distributed by tribal clinics.
Even with Skagway’s high vaccination rate, mother and resident Raniyah Bakr is still concerned about the upcoming tourist season.
“…a large portion of our population is being overlooked. I am referring to the kids of Skagway. We must admit that when it comes to kids and covid, there remains quite a bit of uncertainty…” Bakr said.
She hopes the town will continue to mask and follow health protocols.