Photo: Steve Cornfield

The State of Alaska has opened up the classes of Alaskans who are able to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, with appointment available as early as Thursday, February 11, according to a press release issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The new group includes Alaskans 50 years and above who have high-risk medical conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Down Syndrome, immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, obesity or severe obesity, sickle cell disease, smoking, type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, pregnancy or heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies.

Also included are Frontline essential workers 50 years and above who must work within 6 feet of others, childcare workers and support staff, pre K–12 grade educators and support staff and Indigenous language and culture bearers.

People living or working in congregate settings not covered in Phase 1a, including those in acute psychiatric facilities, correctional settings, group homes for individuals with disabilities or mental and behavioral health conditions, homeless and domestic violence shelters, substance misuse and treatment residential facilities, and transitional living homes.

Pandemic response staff who may come into contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus during outbreak response activities have also been green lighted for this round of vaccinations.