Sabine Poux/KDLL

Health providers are now administering COVID-19 shots to immunocompromised individuals who’ve already received their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Soldotna Professional Pharmacy co-owner Justin Ruffridge said his pharmacy administers multiple third shots, both Pfizer and Moderna, to immunocompromised individuals every day. Those third shots are meant to help them build more immunity to the virus.

Aaron Bolton/KBBI

The Kenai Peninsula Borough spent the winter sharing updated information about the coronavirus and resources for getting vaccinated.

Now, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce is using his platform to challenge local doctors and promote unproven COVID-19 treatments, on local talk radio and in public meetings.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Getting a coronavirus vaccine on the Kenai Peninsula nowadays is a little like ordering a pizza. You can get it delivered to your house, at a music festival with friends, or you can call ahead.

Now, you can also walk in and get it when you want it. Soldotna Professional Pharmacy is operating a new walk-in clinic in Soldotna on the corner of the Sterling Highway and Kenai Spur.

It’s prime real estate, and pretty hard to miss from the road. It’s also Anne Zink-approved.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

In Ohio, there’s a vaccine lottery. Kristy Kreme’s doling out free donuts.

In Alaska, Girdwood’s Alyeska Resort is promising a free day-of lift ticket to anyone who comes to it’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic this Sunday.

KTOO file photo

Several Alaska Republican legislators have signed on to a bill defending what they call “COVID-19 immunization rights.” 

Representatives Ben Carpenter, of Nikiski, Sarah Vance, of Homer and Chris Kurka, of Wasilla, are sponsoring House Bill 175. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Heritage Place is closed to visitors again after several unvaccinated staff and residents tested positive for the coronavirus.

Residents at the hospital-owned elder care facility suffered through a COVID-19 outbreak last fall that infected nearly all residents and killed four.

Photo: Redoubt Reporter

Imagine if you could catch a couple salmon and then get your coronavirus vaccine, all without even leaving the beach.

This summer, Kenai’s popular dip-net fisheries might also be public health hubs.

Sara Erickson

A Soldotna business owner is giving out free goodies to customers who’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Sara Erickson, who makes and sells fish skin dog treats for AlaSkins, says the promotion is a celebration of the state’s herculean effort to immunize Alaskans against the coronavirus. She got her first vaccine recently, at a local clinic.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A third of all eligible adults in the Kenai Peninsula Borough have had at lease one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Almost 16,000 people in the borough have had one or more shot while 11,000 residents, or 24 percent of those eligible, are fully vaccinated, according to state data. Over half of Kenai Peninsula seniors — those over 65 — are vaccinated.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Alaska has eliminated nearly all barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, anyone who lives or works in the state and is 16 or older can get a dose.

Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink announced the update alongside Gov. Mike Dunleavy Tuesday evening — just three days shy of the one-year anniversary of Alaska’s first COVID-19 case.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The disaster declaration for the Kenai Peninsula Borough is now extended through June. It means the borough can continue holding large-scale COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

That’s especially important now that the state has opened vaccine eligibility to a larger swath of the population. Starting today, those considered “essential workers,” Alaskans over 55 and people with conditions that put them at higher risk for contracting a severe case of COVID-19 are eligible to get their first doses.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District vaccinated over 300 educators and support staff against COVID-19 Friday at clinics across the peninsula. 

Mountain View Elementary Principal Karl Kircher got his first dose at the Soldotna clinic. He was really excited about it.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

More Alaskans will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, starting tomorrow.

The state announced today it’s opening eligibility to frontline essential workers 50 and older, including grocery store employees and mail carriers, and people who live and work in congregate settings, like correctional facilities and group homes. Adults 50 and older with high-risk medical conditions are also included in this group and teachers of any age. That’s a new addition to the tier.

When the coronavirus vaccine first became available to Alaskans 65 and up, there was a mad dash for appointments.

Susie Smalley, of Kenai, had the state’s website to book appointments open on the first day. It was a bit hectic.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Providers with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe have opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to all Indian Health Service beneficiaries 16 and older.

As of Wednesday night, a small team of medical staff at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai had vaccinated 427 people, said Sheilah Kean, a registered nurse and primary care practice manager with the tribe.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

For the more than 800 Alaskans who were vaccinated at Kenai Peninsula clinics this weekend, months of fear and anxiety about the coronavirus culminated in a moment’s breath.

“Now if you could just take a big deep breath through your nose," said Registered Nurse Tracy Silta as she administered the COVID-19 vaccine to Anne Browning Saturday at Soldotna Prep.

"Let it out. Perfect.”

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is opening a call center to help seniors register for their doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Starting tomorrow, those eligible for the vaccine can call in to add their names to a waiting list. That’s for seniors who have had trouble navigating the online system on their own, according to the borough.

Vaccine registration has been a fraught process for some Alaskans so far. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Appointments are filling up fast for local coronavirus vaccine clinics.

There were six slots left as of Wednesday evening for a Jan. 30 clinic at the Niksiki Fire Department. But all other slots at area clinics have been spoken for.

In a video message on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Alerts Facebook page, Emergency Manager Dan Nelson said there’s been high demand for limited spots – a trend providers are seeing around the state.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The state announced it will allow Alaskans who are 65 and older to get the coronavirus vaccine starting Jan. 11.

Originally, the state told providers they could start vaccinating seniors later this month. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink attributed the change to confusion over eligibility and scheduling.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Less than 24 hours after the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine arrived on the Kenai Peninsula, five employees gathered in the back of Soldotna Professional Pharmacy to get their first doses.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

If it weren't for the Anchorage Messenger Service decal on the hood, you wouldn’t guess the Toyota Sienna minivan in front of Central Peninsula Hospital was carrying hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine.

The delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Soldotna a little after 3 p.m. Wednesday, a day earlier than expected. Shipments reached many corners of Alaska today, from Kotzebue to Wrangell

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The first batch of coronavirus vaccine will arrive via van at Central Peninsula Hospital this Thursday.

Representatives from the hospital and Soldotna Professional Pharmacy confirmed last week they were getting doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine soon. But with FDA authorization of the vaccine still pending, there were some details to iron out.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

If all goes according to plan, Chris Beaudoin will get the first of his two COVID-19 vaccine doses next week. As a hospitalist at Central Peninsula Hospital who sees multiple coronavirus patients each day, he’s part of the batch of healthcare workers and eldercare residents who will get inoculated in the first phase of vaccine distribution.

“For me, it means that there’s light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "For us as workers in the hospital, it means that we’re less likely to contract the disease and pass it on to other patients.”