Petersburg Medical Center chief nursing officer Jennifer Bryner picks up the first shipment of vaccine Thursday, December 17, 2020 at the James A. Johnson Airport. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Petersburg Thursday afternoon and the Petersburg Medical Center planned to start giving the first shots soon after.

Medical center employees met Alaska Airlines flight 64 to receive the community’s initial allocation, a box of 220 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“PMC staff is very excited to receive the vaccine today,” said Jennifer Bryner, the hospital’s chief nursing officer. “We’re thankful the jet made it in and our staff are very anxious to be able to immunize the residents to make sure that they are protected against COVID-19 and then to receive the vaccine so they are protected as well.”

Following the recommendations of the state’s vaccine allocation advisory committee, the first vaccine will go to staff and residents of the Petersburg Medical Center’s long term care facility or the borough’s Mountain View Manor facility. Other doses will go to health care workers who are providing direct care to patients along with the borough’s emergency medical services staff and volunteers.

This shipment is part of Alaska’s allocation of 35,100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Alaska also expects an initial allocation of 26,800 doses of a second vaccine from Moderna.

Officials with Petersburg’s emergency operations center stress that the initial supply is extremely limited. Providers have five days from the time the vaccine is removed from cold storage to administer it. The first shots were expected at the medical center Thursday afternoon.

Second doses to the same people will be given in 21 days. People receiving the vaccine will be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting the shot, in case of side effects, like those reported in two people in Juneau this week.

The EOC expects more shipments over the next several months for other groups identified by the state’s advisory committee. It’s expected that all who want to be vaccinated will eventually receive it.

For questions about eligibility for the vaccine, contact the Joy Janssen Clinic at 772-4299.

Petersburg has no active cases of COVID-19 associated with the community as of Thursday and remains at a total of 37 resident and non-resident cases since the start of the pandemic.