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COVID-19 Vaccination and Public Health Measures Strongly Advised as Tourism Season Approaches

Sitka – As the region prepares for the upcoming tourism season and an influx of seasonal workers, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) urges patients to register for their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible at covid19.searhc.org to reduce the virus’ impact on our communities. Online registration is required for an appointment, and appointments are scheduled as vaccine doses are received.

“Getting the COVID-19 vaccination is a critical step in slowing the spread of the virus and protecting the health of Southeast communities and employees of local businesses,” said Dr. Elliot Bruhl, SEARHC Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “It is also critically important to continue wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing hands frequently, even after being fully vaccinated. Each of these is key to keeping our communities healthy, particularly now as we prepare for visitors in our area.”

The vaccine is 95% effective in protecting against becoming ill with COVID-19, but it may be possible for a vaccinated individual to transmit the virus to others. In addition, variants of the virus are appearing, and some appear to be more transmissible. Experts warn that these new variants could drive future surges of the pandemic and recommend continuing efforts to exercise caution.

“It may be tempting to think that once you have received your second vaccination, you can resume normal activities without taking further precautions against COVID-19, but this is not the case,” said Dr. Bruhl. “We cannot let our guard down if we are to succeed in overcoming the virus. SEARHC commends our communities’ efforts to be part of the solution and urges them to remain vigilant against the virus.”

Ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols remain in place at all SEARHC facilities.

Vaccine doses are available with no out-of-pocket costs to the general public in communities throughout the Southeast region and to beneficiaries and existing SEARHC patients in Juneau. Patients aged 18 and older interested in receiving the vaccine are encouraged to register online now at covid19.searhc.org. A valid email address is required to register. The registration process takes approximately three minutes to complete using a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Once an individual has registered online, SEARHC will email the patient a link to self-schedule a vaccination appointment.

Individuals who have questions regarding the vaccines should contact their local SEARHC clinic. For more information, or to register for a vaccination, visit covid19.searhc.org.