Half of Alaska residents 16 and up received one vaccine dose

A vial of vaccine on a table
A vial of the Moderna vaccine waits to be used at a pharmacy clinic in Sitka on Jan. 22, 2021. (Berett Wilber/KCAW)

Nearly half of Alaska residents 16 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Friday, while just over half had received at least one dose, according to state data.

The rates were above the national average, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Peninsula Clarion reported Saturday that Alaska reached the milestone days after the state opened vaccination appointments to children ages 12 to 15, following the CDC’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for that age group.

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Meanwhile, Alaska communities have started to ease some COVID-19 rules.

In Anchorage, the Assembly voted to revoke the city’s mask mandate on Friday ahead of its planned expiration date. In Juneau, the city’s mask order was eased to allow fully vaccinated people to go in indoor public areas or at crowded outdoor events without a mask.

RELATED: Assembly votes to immediately end Anchorage’s mask mandate

Alaska’s average daily case counts are now trending down significantly statewide, though a few regions in the state are still in the highest alert category based on their current per capita rate of infection, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

There were 1,316 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska in the two weeks before Sunday, according to the CDC.