When SEARHC kicked off its first vaccine clinic in December, the line wrapped around Harrigan Centennial Hall. Only a handful of those interested received vaccines that day, but a new shipment promises many more people who fall into the 1B category (65+ and essential frontline workers) will receive vaccines in the next week. (KCAW/Berett Wilber)

If you’ve registered for the COVID vaccine through SEARHC, are 65 or older or a frontline essential worker, keep a close eye on your inbox. When the Sitka Unified Command met on Wednesday (1-13-21), SEARHC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elliot Bruhl said they’re receiving a brand new shipment of COVID vaccines this week. They will begin contacting those who meet the current vaccination guidelines via email over the next few days.

“We’re hopeful that with this round of vaccine that we’re going to get well down, if not all the way through, the 1B groups,” Bruhl said. “Probably not all the way through it, but quite a substantial way through it.”

Read the state’s 1B guidelines to find out if you currently qualify for a vaccine

Bruhl said the consortium had already administered thousands of second doses and would administer more next week in addition to the wave of new patients. He said they made a lot of  phone calls to set people up for appointments during the first round of public vaccinations in December because they were trying to make things easier for elderly patients, but that wasn’t sustainable, long-term. Bruhl said those who initially registered for a vaccination but only provided a phone number need to re-register with a valid email address.  

Pharmacist Trish White said she’d kicked off a vaccine clinic in partnership with the state and Sitka Fire Department this week. 

“This is our first Moderna Vaccine-theses are number one Modernas. We did about 55 folks, and we’ll have the second 55 next Wednesday morning, and we’ll have a big all-day Friday, as well,” she said.  

White said her clinics would likely be distributing the Moderna vaccine moving forward — Moderna and Pfizer are both two-dose MRNA vaccines, but Moderna is easier to store. 

The new shipment of vaccines is arriving just as cases are creeping upward again in Sitka. As of Friday evening (1-15-20), there were 17 active COVID cases, according to city data.