SEARHC chief medical officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday (12-16-20). Bruhl is among the front line health care providers and first responders (police, fire, EMS) who will be the first to be vaccinated. (SEARHC photo)

The first doses of the long-awaited vaccine for COVID-19 arrived in Sitka late Tuesday night (12-15-20). The Sitka Unified Command is working out a distribution plan for the vaccine which will see frontline medical personnel, first responders, and long-term care residents vaccinated first. Vaccination of the general public will not happen until later in the spring and summer of 2021.

“Getting vaccinated is an important first step toward ending the pandemic, and you have an important role to play by rolling up your sleeve,” said Bruhl.

He spoke with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey:

SEARHC pharmacy director Traci Gale loads cases of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a truck at Sitka’s Rocky Gutierrez Airport. (SEARHC photo)
The Pfizer vaccine has one drawback for distribution to rural Alaska: It must be kept at temperatures far below zero prior to use, and it’s only good for six hours after it’s been diluted for injection. (SEARHC photo)
SEARHC pharmacy director Traci Gale stores vaccine in an ultra-low temperature freezer provided by the state. SEARHC will hold vaccine for White’s Pharmacy and the Public Health Nurse until it is ready to be distributed. (SEARHC photo)