Distributing the vaccine is hard enough in rural lower 48 states of the U.S., where challenges include long drives and limited access to the ultra-cold freezers that are needed to preserve doses. Rural Alaska’s obstacles are at another level. Dozens of remote villages lack any connection to roads or hospitals, and ultra-cold freezers are essentially nonexistent. Those problems, however, have not thwarted the vaccine’s delivery. Instead, bolstered by special shipments for Alaska Native tribes, providers have mobilized a massive effort that’s delivering thousands of doses to remote parts of the state. The vaccine, and those administering it, have traveled by chartered planes, water taxis and sleds pulled by snow machines.

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