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Vaccine Expansion Set To Accelerate Alaska’s Recovery


March 3, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – Governor Mike Dunleavy today called the move to expand the vaccine eligibility criteria for the state-allocated COVID-19 vaccine significant as part of the process in accelerating Alaska’s recovery and getting the economy back up and running.


Alaska continues to lead the nation in vaccinations.


The newly eligible group, Phase 1c, will include persons ages 55-64 years, plus persons ages 16 and above who are essential workers as defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), or who have certain medical conditions, or who live in multigenerational households or in communities with limited plumbing.


This newly expanded group will include 103,000 essential workers who work in fields such as education, food production and agriculture, manufacturing, public transit, grocery stores, transportation and logistics, food service, shelter and housing, finance, IT and communication, energy, media, legal, public safety, law enforcement, water and wastewater or with the U.S. Postal Service.


Alaskans who were previously eligible (Phase 1a and 1b) can continue to get immunized against COVID-19 if they have not already done so.


“By giving more Alaskans the opportunity to get vaccinated, the faster we can get Alaskan business thriving again,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “This is the jump start to get our economy going again.”


People can learn more at covidvax.alaska.gov, or may call 1-907-646-3322 from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on weekends.

 Media Contact: Jeff Turner jeff.turner@alaska.gov (907) 310-4961




Notice from the Office of the State Veterinarian:



An increased number of cases of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) have been reported in the southcentral area (majority in Anchorage) this winter.  A similar report of increased cases in Southeast was also observed late fall and into the winter.


Opportunistic testing was done on a subset of dogs with clinical respiratory disease in Southcentral, as well as Southeast Alaska.  The majority of these dogs were positive for parainfluenza virus on a PCR respiratory panel.


Veterinarians should be aware of the current increased prevalence of parainfluenza, and consider biosecurity measures in your hospital if you have appointments for coughing dogs.  Also consider discussing protective measures with clients whose dogs may be going to day cares, training classes, or kennels.


Sarah Coburn, DVM, MS
Assistant State Veterinarian
State of Alaska
Department of Environmental Conservation
5251 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave
Anchorage, AK 99507
(907) 375-8213





Starting February 11, additional people will be eligible to book an appointment (please wait until February 11 to book an appointment):

  • People 50 years and above with a high-risk medical condition*
  • People 50 years and above working as a frontline essential worker*
  • PreK-12 and child care education staff*
  • People living or working in congregate settings*

“Starting February 11, Phase 1b Tier 2 COVID vaccine appointments will be open.  As essential frontline workers who must work within 6 feet of others, veterinarians aged 50 years and older will be eligible for vaccination under Phase 1b Tier 2.


FYI: The Alaska Phase 1b Tier 2 includes ‘Other Community-or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions.”  It also says for further criteria see the CISA advisory list.


On page 19 of the CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) document that is referenced by the Alaska Dept of Health, veterinarians are clearly listed under “Other community of government-based operations and essential functions.”  https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ECIW_4.0_Guidance_on_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workers_Final3_508_0.pdf



Just want to keep everyone informed as we continue to find our way through the COVID -19 pandemic. Many veterinarians and veterinary staff have been turned away when signing up for the COVID – 19 vaccine. The Board of Veterinary Examiners has reached out to DHSS for clarification on phase 1a tier 3 eligibility and the guidance has changed based on recommendations from the Allocation Advisory Committee.

Clarification on Phase 1a tier 3

  1. Have direct patient (the advisory committee has changed this to add, human) contact, or have direct contact with infectious materials from patients; and,
  1. Provide essential health care services in a hospital, clinic, home, or community based setting that cannot be offered remotely or performed via telework; and
  2. Provide essential health care service that cannot be postponed without serious negative impact to the patient’s health.


From this updated information, veterinarians and staff are not included in phase 1a, tier 3. The clarifying language added ‘human’ patient, thereby focusing on human healthcare providers, and leaving veterinarians and staff until a later phase of vaccine distribution.

At this time veterinarians and staff should be included in phase 1b. http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/VaccineAvailability.aspx

The AKVMA will continue to update everyone as we are updated. Thank you all for your patience and time.

McKayla Dick, DVM
Alaska Veterinary Medical Association President
Associate Veterinarian, North Pole Veterinary Hospital
Phone: 509-993-9123
E-mail: mdickval@gmail.com


Information on vaccination eligibility –  https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/c0037dd8735d44cfbd53d192cb2ffed3?portalUrl=https://Alaska-DHSS.maps.arcgis.com  You will be asked to answer a few questions regarding your eligibility based on the criteria above.


How to sign up for the vaccination – https://alaska-dhss.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3d1dff7f0e544edbb18c9039b0473aa5





AKVMA News is a biannual publication of the Alaska State Veterinary Medical Association for its members.  Members receive an electronic copy of the newsletter.  Publication dates are Jan./Feb. and Aug./Sept.

Winter 2021 Issue

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