- When will Cordovans 65 and older be able to receive the vaccine?
The State of Alaska is allocating vaccines throughout the state. Both Ilanka Community Health Center and Cordova Community Medical Center have requested allotments for the Phase 1b, Tier 1 vaccine group, which includes Alaskans 65 and older. We have not yet received confirmed information about how many or when we might receive these vaccines.
- Some people in Cordova have already received vaccines. Who and why?
Cordova was allotted vaccines for the Phase 1a vaccine group, which included Health Care Workers, First Responders, and Nursing Home Residents. Almost all of that group has now been vaccinated and we are ready to move onto Phase 1b, Tier 1. There were a very few vaccines left over from the Phase 1a allotment that were administered to the most medically high-risk Cordovans from the Phase 1b, Tier 1 vaccine group.
- Who decides which communities/groups get vaccines?
Vaccine allocation is determined by several sources: the State of Alaska, Indian Health Services, Veterans Administration, and the U.S. Military. Cordova has received an allocation from Indian Health Services that can be distributed as the local Tribal Council determines, as well as its State allocation for Phase 1a.
- Why can’t we put our names on a list or schedule to be vaccinated when Cordova receives its next allotment?
We don’t know when or how many vaccines we will receive. The State controls that. The two types of vaccines we have received in Cordova so far both have time and temperature sensitivities. The COVID vaccine is not like the flu vaccine: there is a limited time-window to administer the vaccine for it to be effective and two doses are needed for optimum immunity. Therefore, patients must be able to receive their dose as soon as it is ready, as well as ensure they will be available for a follow-up dose.
- Which vaccines are available?
Pfizer vaccine (the CCMC Phase 1a allotment): held in Anchorage and shipped in varying order sizes to Cordova refrigerated. We have 5 days from the moment it leaves the freezer in Anchorage to administer the vaccine. The vial needs to be warmed to room temperature and diluted, then it must be administered within 6 hours. Most vials have 5-6 doses. The second dose is given 3 weeks after the first.
Moderna vaccine (the Ilanka December allotment): shipping to Cordova in 100 dose shipments directly from the manufacturer. The vaccine can be maintained frozen for 6 months or in the refrigerator for 30 days. The vial needs to be warmed to room temperature and must be administered within 6 hours. Most vials have 10-11 doses. The second dose is given 4 weeks after the first.
- What can I do to prepare?
Decide if you want the vaccine and be ready to be flexible. We will get the word out as soon as we know when and how much vaccine Cordova will receive. We want to vaccinate as many people who are eligible per State guidelines as possible. We will give details at the time of the announcement. Once scheduled, please show up to appointments on time to ensure no vaccines are wasted.
We appreciate the interest in the COVID vaccine. As soon as we have more information we will distribute it through multiple media platforms. Please bear with us as things may rapidly change. Your medical community is working extremely hard to provide vaccines for all community members. If this vaccination process were in our control, we would give a vaccine to every Cordovan who wanted one tomorrow. Please be patient as we work to provide the vaccine and be assured that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that there are vaccines available. Thank you.