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Alaska becomes first state to open vaccinations to everyone over 16



(NEW YORK) — Alaska is the first state to allow COVID-19 vaccines to any adult who wants one.

“Effective immediately, Alaska will become the 1st state in the nation to allow anyone over the age of 16 to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a post on Twitter Tuesday evening. “This marks a significant step forward in our efforts to put the virus behind us.”

You must be either living or working in Alaska to be eligible.

The vaccine will be available to anyone over 16, which is the lowest age authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use of the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to anyone over 18.

Most states are still requiring specific qualifications for the vaccine, such as seniors, essential workers or those with underlying conditions.

“Nearly one year ago the first positive COVID-19 case arrived in Alaska. Today, our state – because of the undaunted efforts of Alaskans – is leading the nation in vaccinations efforts,” Dunleavy added.

On March 3, Dunleavy had opened up vaccines to anyone 55 and older as well as essential workers — such as teachers, agriculture workers, first responders and the media — and those with underlying conditions.

Alaska has been allocated 288,000 doses with 170,993 people having received at least one shot and 119,631 completely vaccinated, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The state has given the most total doses per 100,000 people in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 41,376 doled out, it is one of just two states with over 40,000 doses given per 100,000 people — along with New Mexico.

Alaska, with just shy of 60,000 confirmed cases, ranks 46th-most in the U.S. — behind only Wyoming, Maine, Hawaii and Vermont in fewest cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Alaska has recorded 291 deaths total, with 38 since Feb. 1. Only Vermont has recorded fewer deaths. The majority of cases and deaths have come in Anchorage.

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