Photo: Sharon McCutcheon

Nearly one-in-three Alaskans have received their first COVID vaccination while more than one-in-five are fully vaccinated, according to a statement released Friday by Governor Michael Dunleavy’s office.

“Each vaccinated person gets us one step closer to putting the pandemic behind us and getting back to living life freely like we did before COVID-19,” said Dunleavy. “Alaska is well on its way to achieving herd immunity. If we keep up this brisk pace of vaccinations, we will soon get to the point where further spread of the disease will become unlikely. I thank those individuals who have worked hard to get us to this point and encourage Alaskans to keep it up. Because of efforts made by all Alaskans, we are seeing healthier communities and a healthier economy.”  

As of Friday, roughly 72% of Alaskans aged 65 and older - the group most vulnerable to COVID-19 -have received one dose of the vaccine and 64% are fully vaccinated says the Governor’s office, a number that includes 90% of residents at Alaska’s Pioneer Homes.

Tribal partners and local communities efforts have been instrumental in Alaska reaching extremely high vaccination rates in some rural areas, says the press release. Communities with a high percentage of vaccinations for their residents include Atka at 89%, Saint Mary’s 85%, Koyukuk 80%, Mekoryuk 79%, Anvik 78% and Angoon at 76%.

Alaska’s hospitalization rates are consistently low, with a 72% reduction in hospitalizations statewide between November 2020 and March 2021 as reported by the Alaska Department of Health and Human Service.