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COVID-19 Vaccines and Testing

As of May 11, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the end of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). The United States has mobilized and sustained a historic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation, we now find ourselves at a different point in the pandemic – with more tools and resources than ever before to better protect ourselves and our communities. Our SEARHC clinics have resumed providing care based on standard precautions. This means that staff will use masks when working with patients who are ill with respiratory diseases, and that patients with fever or respiratory symptoms will be required to mask, but otherwise, there will not be mandatory masking. As COVID-19 is still actively spreading in our communities, SEARHC will continue to provide vaccines, testing and medications to treat the disease.

Case Update

Updated May 19, 2023

About COVID-19


Vaccinating Southeast residents is essential in fighting COVID-19 and protecting the health of our families and our communities. To register for the vaccine or booster, click here. Provide a valid email at registration, and you will receive instructions to schedule your appointment as soon as the vaccine is available for your sequence group.

Join Dr. Bruhl and Tlingit & Haida for a  Lunch and Learn on the COVID-19 vaccine


If you are concerned you might have contracted COVID-19, click here to find your local clinic’s phone number to schedule a test.

Questions? Contact the SEARHC clinic in your community, or call the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799 Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

As the medical provider and partner in health for all residents of Southeast, Alaska SEARHC has created a list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19. If you have questions that aren’t listed here, please reach out to your local clinic.

On Aug. 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of updated COVID-19 booster shots that combat the two most recent and contagious omicron subvariants. These will be available once the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines for their use. This is expected in the coming days. SEARHC has already placed an order for this “updated booster”, and it is expected to arrive sometime next week. All SE communities with SEARHC primary care clinics, are preparing to have the “updated boosters” available as soon as they arrive.

Who is eligible to receive a single booster dose and when:

  • Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Updated Booster Vaccine, if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Updated Booster Vaccine, if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Following formal guidance from the CDC, booster shots are now available throughout the SEARHC Care Network for all eligible Patients. For more information, please see CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Information. The CDC will announce additional recommendations as they come available.

To schedule for the COVID-19 booster shot, please call your local SEARHC clinic, sign up with the QR code below

Scan QR code to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine or booster

or sign up online with our COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Sign-up Form.

Where can I schedule my COVID-19 vaccine or booster?

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available to all eligible patients. To schedule a vaccination or booster, Open the camera app on your smartphone and scan the QR code below, or click this link.  It will take you to a form where you can register for a vaccine or booster in your area.  Rest assured that patients will be contacted as soon as their vaccine or booster is scheduled in accordance with sequence grouping.  Please use a valid email address, as self-scheduling instructions will be sent via this method.  If no appointments are available, please continue to attempt using the same scheduling link.

Scan QR code to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine or booster

Are the vaccines and boosters safe?

The safety and effectiveness of a vaccine is determined during clinical trials. The FDA only authorizes vaccines after they have passed three phases of clinical trials, involving tens of thousands of people and months of data collection and analysis. After a vaccine is authorized, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor it using three existing federal safety systems. Doctors and scientists make safety decisions at the FDA and CDC that prioritize the health and well-being of every American citizen and are above political pressures.

No steps are skipped during the clinical trial process for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine safety checks continue as long as a vaccine is available. More information on vaccine safety is available online from the CDCFDA and DHSS. If you have additional safety questions about vaccines, ask your healthcare provider.

Are the vaccines and boosters effective?

Each COVID-19 vaccine and booster must meet FDA standards for effectiveness. Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines being approved and authorized in the United States require two shots spaced three to four weeks apart. The first shot starts building protection; it is essential to get the second shot for the vaccine to be effective and provide maximum protection. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95% effective within one to two weeks after the second shot. SEARHC Medical Directors encourage all SEARHC staff and community members to get the vaccine. Getting vaccinated can protect you, your family, and your community from COVID-19.

What are the side effects of the vaccine or booster?

Possible side effects associated with the vaccines or boosters include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. 5% or less will experience low-grade fever or mild headache. These side effects typically last about two days. COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials and have been found to be safe. Safety monitoring will continue, as it does for all vaccines. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates.

Vaccine Data from SEARHC Facilities:
Updated March 3, 2023, at 12:42 p.m.

SEARHC COVID Vaccinations and Boosters Given by Community

Promptly identifying COVID-19 cases continues to be the most effective way to limit the impact of the virus on our communities.

SEARHC is now providing two COVID-19 self kits per household at no cost. A reserve of kits will allow for self-testing in the safety of your own home. Self-test kits are available on a first-come first-serve basis, while supplies last. For more information, please contact your local SEARHC clinic.  If you are feeling ill or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home, and call to be scheduled at one of our testing sites.

COVID-19 testing at the Clinic is available to all who need them. If you are experiencing symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, or diarrhea, or if you think you have been exposed to someone with a positive test, or if you are traveling, or if you need a test to ensure the health of a vulnerable community member, please schedule a test with your clinic.  You will be asked to provide Medicare or Medicaid information at the time of scheduling to have your insurance billed. There will be no out-of-pocket charges for testing for those who need tests.

Schedule your COVID-19 test through your local SEARHC clinic, or by calling the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799. For information about testing in Sitka, click here.

Testing Fact Sheets:

Abbott ID Now EUA Patient Fact Sheet
Abbott RealTime Assay EUA Patient Fact Sheet
Cepheid Xpert Xpress EUA Patient Fact Sheet

It is simple to connect and see your healthcare provider from anywhere with Telehealth Services. To see your provider virtually, all you need is a smartphone or a computer with a webcam and internet connection. Virtual appointments are available with SEARHC providers in Primary Care, Specialty Care, Behavioral Health, and Rehabilitation service lines.

  1. Contact your local clinic or provider to schedule appointments.
  2. Read the Informed Consent form for Telehealth Services. You may be requested to submit a signed copy before your first appointment.
  3. Visit this webpage to prepare for and check-in for your telehealth appointment.

If you don’t have health insurance, SEARHC’s Patient Health Benefits team is available to answer patient coverage questions. For assistance, please contact outreach@searhc.org or call 907.966.8662. PHB staff can assist patients in applying for immediate coverage, as well as provide guidance to apply for Medicaid or navigate the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

SEARHC facilities are open to serve you with our full complement of service lines. Contact your local clinic to schedule an appointment in person, online, or by phone. Emergency services are open for any who need immediate care. COVID-19 screening measures are in place at all locations to ensure your safety. By following the CDC screening protocols and strict decontamination procedures, we are ensuring the safest possible clinical environment for patients.

SEARHC is prepared to care for and assist prenatal patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For a list of patient questions and answers, please click here.

  • Practice social distancing, at least six feet away from people who are not in your household (in both indoor and outdoor settings).
  • Wear a mask in public, around people who do not live in your household or when social distance measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Spend 20 seconds scrubbing with soap before rinsing your hands. If you do not have soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces. This can include phones, keyboards, doorknobs and toys.
  • Get your annual influenza vaccination.
  • If you begin to feel ill, contact your local SEARHC clinic, or call the COVID Hotline at 907.966.8799.

If you begin to feel ill, and you don’t have any underlying conditions, stay home. Once you no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines, remain home for an additional 24-hours.

If you begin to feel ill and you do have underlying health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, pregnancy, cancer, immune suppression), call your healthcare provider. Calling ahead to make an appointment before seeing a clinician will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. When you call, make sure you tell the provider if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, either through travel or with a case of the disease.

If you have an emergency medical condition, please call 911 or your local emergency medical services number.

If you are having a health issue you do not know how to handle outside of normal clinic hours, call the free After-Hours Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560. Nurse Advice Line calls will be answered by non-local, registered triage nurses who will:

  • Provide a timely response to your questions.
  • Determine whether your health issue requires a call to your provider and if so, will contact your SEARHC provider.
  • Share advice on how to care for the problem yourself if home care is appropriate.
  • Connect you with emergency services if necessary.
  • Answer general health questions.
  • Forward a message to your local clinic after hours.

SEARHC’s free After-Hours Nurse Advice Line is not a substitute for medical attention. The registered nurses cannot provide diagnoses or treatment but can provide advice for something as simple as what over-the-counter remedy is appropriate for a cold symptom to something as complex as explaining a new medication.

Abra el documento para leer las preguntas y respuestas de la comunidad sobre el COVID-19 aqui.

Schedule a COVID-19 Test

If you are concerned you might have contracted COVID-19, don’t panic, as the flu or another respiratory virus is still the most likely cause of your symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider for advice. If you choose to visit an emergency department, call ahead to alert staff of your COVID-19 concerns and request a mask be brought out to you prior to entering to reduce the risk of exposure.

Questions? Contact your local SEARHC clinic or call the COVID-19 Hotline at 907.966.8799