Alaska to start providing tourists with vaccine options at 4 airports beginning in June
Alaska was the first state to allow all residents aged 16 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, it's forging ahead with a new pro-shot campaign: Alaska will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines at four airports across the state to residents and tourists alike beginning on June 1.
The airports will be administering either the Pfizer or Moderna shot. Those who won't be in the area for the second shot will need to contact their local providers for the follow-up dose.
Participating airports include Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Fairbanks International Airport (FAI), Juneau International Airport (JNU), and Ketchikan International Airport (KTN), and all shots will be administered (for free) outside the security areas.
Governor Mike Dunleavy said in a press conference on Friday that "the idea is if we have excess vaccines, why not use them?"
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According to the AP, officials are doing a "soft rollout" for Alaskans traveling through the Anchorage airport for five days in late April to work through logistics. Then, eligibility opens up to all come June.
Related: What you need to know about all the COVID-19 vaccines in the US
According to the New York Times, Alaska has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, having fully vaccinated 40% of its population.
“We want to get our economy back up and running. We want to get our society back up and running,” Governor Dunleavy said. “We want to put this virus behind us — as far as possible, as soon as possible.”
Across the country, states have been ramping up their vaccination rollout programs. According to the Times, about 3.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being injected each day, and about 129.5 million people across the country have received at least one dose.
It's clear that vaccinations will be a key factor in restarting travel — especially internationally. Some cruise lines and destinations have said that vaccines will be required.
Related: What the COVID-19 vaccine might mean for your travel plans
Iceland, for example, has said that tourists who are fully vaccinated will be able to forgo a mandatory quarantine.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said at ITB Berlin that vaccines will be the biggest factor when considering a return to travel — a sentiment echoed by many others in the travel industry.
A state such as Alaska, where the cruise and tourism industries make up a large part of the economy, has much to gain from successful vaccination against COVID-19.
Related: Delta CEO says testing, vaccinations are ‘the answer’ as industry eyes pandemic recovery