Alaska launches COVID-19 airport vaccination program

Heidi Hedberg, director of Public Health for the State of Alaska, speaks to reporters at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in 2020. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska has begun offering COVID-19 vaccines at airports, a move that was anticipated for the start of the summer travel season.

The state health department said effective Tuesday, vaccine eligibility was expanded to include anyone in Alaska who is at least 12 years old, including visitors from other states or countries. Prior eligibility was for those who live or work in Alaska.

Vaccines will be offered outside the areas secured by the federal Transportation Security Administration at airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Plans call for the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to have available all three vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S., including the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the health department said.

The two-dose Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for those as young as 12. The Johnson & Johnson and two-dose Moderna vaccines have received emergency authorizations for those 18 or older.

The department said testing services will be available at the three airports and at airports in Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg, Cordova, Gustavus, Wrangell and Yakutat.