A collaborative effort led by the Alaska COVID-19 Unified Command is getting a number of seafood industry workers and residents of communities dotting the Aleutian Chain vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
The aggressive vaccination effort began March 17. According to the Unified Command, well over 2,500 doses of COVID-19 have been given to seafood workers at land-based processing plants and onboard fishing vessels at Akutan, plus other seafood industry workers and residents of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.
Eastern Aleutian Tribes, the city of Unalaska, Iliulliuk Family and Health Services Clinic and the Unified Command have partnered with others to coordinate delivery of the vaccine to these very remote communities. The Eastern Aleutian Tribes health sector received an allocation of the vaccine from the federal government, plus additional vaccine through a program for Federally Qualified Health Centers.
“The commercial fishing industry is the lifeblood of many Alaskan communities and it’s critical they are able to continue their work,” said Bryan Fisher, incident commander with the Unified Command. “The challenge is balancing the economic needs with the health needs of the communities and the workforce.
State health officials meanwhile are continuing to take steps to ensure that the commercial fishing industry keeps operating as the pandemic continues.
Employers who hire nonresident workers are being asked to submit community/workforce protective plans, implement social distancing measures to protect workers and communities, and to conduct regular screening of their workers.