Alaska will offer free Covid-19 vaccines to arriving tourists this summer in an effort to restart the tourism industry. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said that Covid-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting June 1, the Associated Press reported.
Dunleavy outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at attracting tourists using federal aid money and said the vaccine offering is probably another “good reason” to visit Alaska this summer.
What we want to do is make sure that our fantastic tourist industry — including the cruise ships, including our hospitality in our ancillary businesses — have an opportunity to get back to where they wereMike Dunleavy, Governor of Alaska
State authorities have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after Covid-19 restrictions kept them away last year. This in turn had an effect on businesses and communities, particularly in southeast Alaska, that rely heavily on summer tourism.
According to Alaska’s health department, about 40% of those eligible for a vaccine in Alaska — 16 or older — are fully vaccinated. Health officials have been looking for new ways to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
The idea is if we have excess vaccines, why not use them? So what we’re saying to our tourists is if you come to Alaska, you get a free vaccination if you want oneMike Dunleavy, Governor of Alaska
Heidi Hedberg, the state health department’s Division of Public Health director, said there is an ample supply of vaccine. She said the airport program will offer the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Hedberg said that if travelers are not in Alaska when it’s time for their second dose, they can follow-up at a clinic or with their provider when they return home.
Alaska plans to offer vaccines at airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan, with the clinics outside the security area, Hedberg said. State health officials also have encouraged travelers to test for Covid-19, though the state no longer requires that.