Too young to qualify for a COVID-19 shot? Bring an unvaccinated senior with you.

a person puts a bandaid on another person
Anchorage School District school nurse Kristin Studley (right) administers the Moderna Covid-19 vaccination to Rae Hancock (left). Hancock was one of 771 people who received vaccines at the ASD Education Center on Jan. 7, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska health officials this week announced a new way people can qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine: Bring an unvaccinated senior with you, and you can get a shot yourself.

States like Massachusetts have used a similar vaccine buddy system, with the goal of making it easier for older people to get their shots.

Here’s how it works: If you know someone who’s over 65, and you help them get vaccinated, you can get vaccinated yourself at the same time — even if you don’t meet any other state eligibility requirements.

The state also announced two more groups now eligible for vaccines.

Anyone living or working in a congregate setting can now be vaccinated — that includes jails and prisons, domestic violence or homeless shelters and residential drug treatment centers. Before, the qualification had only applied to people working in the judicial system, the Department of Health and Social Services said in a prepared statement.

Anyone providing at-home care for what the state calls a “medically fragile person” can also be vaccinated. That includes anyone supporting another person in bathing, dressing, shopping, laundry and similar.

Previously, caregivers were only eligible if they were caring for a person 65 or older.

For full details about vaccine eligibility, visit

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist. He's been a reporter in Alaska for a decade, and is currently reporting for Alaska Public Media. Find more of his work by subscribing to his newsletter, Northern Journal, at Reach him at

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