FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2021
Contact: Sarah Richards, Public Relations Specialist
Nome, Alaska – On April 19, Norton Sound Health Corporation identified two unrelated positive COVID-19 cases. Both patients are residents of Nome and are now safely isolating. Close contacts have been identified, and the origins of the virus are currently being investigated.
With the addition of these two cases, there are now five active cases in the region, all in Nome. As of today, 74% of eligible people 16 and older have received at least the first dose of vaccine. NSHC is striving to vaccinate 70-80% of the entire region, including children under the age of 16. Currently, 57% of the total population has been vaccinated, leaving the region 13-23% away from meeting the herd immunity goal. Once this goal is reached, the region will be able to enjoy the return to normalcy.
NSHC is now offering COVID-19 vaccines at the Nome Airport to travelers arriving in the region to encourage vaccination. Information on how to register for a vaccine will be given to each passenger before boarding the plane to Nome.
NSHC continues to vaccinate people ages 16 and older and anticipates that vaccines will be available to a younger population by this summer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently evaluating the Pfizer vaccine to use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15. Pfizer reported that the vaccine has been shown to be safe and 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in over 2,000 youth during clinical trials. The company applied for emergency use approval from the FDA over a week ago.
Moderna is also currently conducting studies in children between 12 and 17, and expects to share their finding in the coming months. Once the vaccines are authorized for use in this age range, the goal is to have vaccinations available before kids return to school in the fall.
If you would like to get vaccinated, please call your local clinic to find out about availability or to get on the waitlist for the vaccine of your choice. If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, please reach out to NSHC’s medical staff for answers by emailing or by calling into NSHC’s leadership call on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. at 1-800-315-6338; access code 03286#.