How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine in Alaska

Posted on 06/14/21 by Emily Paulin

COVID-19 Vaccine Alaska

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?

  • Anyone age 12 and older who is living or working in Alaska

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • Local vaccination sites, including hospitals, medical clinics, community health centers, independent pharmacies and pop-up clinics, with some sites taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary. Find a site on the state’s online map or online list of vaccine providers. You can also use the state’s website called PrepMod or its Vaccine Appointments page to browse available appointments at several sites.
  • Certain retail pharmacies, including Carrs, Costco, CVS, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Walgreens and Walmart, have created online COVID-19 vaccine pages where you can search for appointments across their locations. Some locations are taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary.
  • Through your employer or living facility. Some Alaskans who were prioritized for vaccinations because of their job, such as teachers, or because of where they live, such as nursing home residents, may be able to get vaccinated through their workplaces or the facilities where they reside. Check with your employer or residence before scheduling a vaccination appointment.
  • The state’s COVID line at 907-646-3322 can help you find a provider or make an appointment if you are having trouble booking an appointment online or don’t have computer access. Leave a message, and someone should call you back. Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is calling Alaskans eligible for vaccinations from this phone number, and 907-290-7933, to help with scheduling appointments. Note that calls from these phone numbers are state workers, not scammers.
  • The state's Aging & Disability Resource Center at 855-565-2017, option 1, can also help seniors schedule vaccination appointments. If no one answers, leave a message with your first and last name, location and contact number. You should receive a call back within 24 hours.
  • The federal government’s vaccines, lets you search for vaccination sites by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
  • Many transit agencies are offering free or discount rides to and from vaccination sites. So are Uber and Lyft. Book a ride through their mobile apps or online. 

AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.

If you are prioritized because of an underlying medical condition or based on your work, you may need a note from your doctor, a pay stub or badge, or some other form of proof. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

How are residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities getting vaccinated?

Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Alaska are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines via free on-site clinics. Apart from a very small number of outstanding clinics, the program is complete. 

To ensure long-term care facilities still have access to COVID-19 vaccines — for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots — the federal government is continuing to allocate vaccines to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities.

Which vaccines require a second shot? 

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.  

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot. Federal officials warn that the vaccine has been connected with rare, severe blood clots in a small number of recipients, especially in women age 50 years and younger.

It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot. Visit the CDC's COVID-19 vaccines page for more information.

Do I have to pay for the vaccination?  

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

What should I do with my vaccine card? 

You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.  

You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy. 

When will kids be able to get vaccinated? 

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those age 12 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he expects that all kids will likely be eligible by early next year. 

Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?   

It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and after the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, the CDC says, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors and outdoors without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by state and federal law and local business and workplace requirements.

The CDC recommends continuing to wear a mask on planes, buses and trains and other shared transport while traveling into, within or out of the United States, and while at transportation hubs like airports and stations.

Helpful Resources

  • How to Make a Vaccination Appointment. Watch this video tutorial for step-by-step instructions on how to book an appointment directly with a provider. Visit this online information page for step-by-step instructions on how to use PrepMod. 
  • AARP Alaska's COVID-19 Vaccine Updates. At 11 a.m. on the third Tuesday of every month, AARP Alaska will have a teleconference with the state’s chief medical officer, Anne Zink, M.D., and registered nurse Tessa Walker Linderman, cochair of the Alaska Vaccine Task Force. Alaskans can ask questions about vaccinations, allergic reactions, immunity and more. Register to attend here.

This guide, originally published Jan. 15, was updated June 14 with new information on free and discounted rides to and from vaccination appointments.

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This story is provided by AARP Alaska. Visit the AARP Alaska page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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