Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy said that COVID-19 vaccines would be made available at key airports in the state starting 1 June, in unveiling plans aimed at bolstering the state’s pandemic-battered tourist industry.
Dunleavy, a Republican, outlined plans for a national marketing campaign aimed at luring tourists using federal aid money and said the vaccine offering is probably another good reason to come to the state of Alaska in the summer. Dunleavy and other state leaders have been pushing to allow large cruise ships to return to Alaska after COVID-19 restrictions kept them away last year, hitting hard businesses and communities, particularly in southeast Alaska, that rely heavily on summer tourism.
He said the state has not ruled out suing the federal government, as Florida has, over the issue. About 40% of those eligible for a vaccine in Alaska, who are 16 or older, are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department, and health officials have been looking for new ways to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
Alaska was the first state to drop restrictions on who could get a COVID-19 vaccine when last month it opened eligibility to anyone 16 or older who lives or works in the state.
The state plans to offer vaccines at airports in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan, with the clinics outside the security area, she said. Details released Friday differed from a department solicitation in March that included interest in using a one-dose vaccine subject to availability.
State health officials also have encouraged travellers to test for COVID-19, though the state no longer requires that.