Club Information
Welcome to the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay - Celebrating Over 37 Years Serving Homer and the World
Homer-Kachemak Bay

Four Way Test: True, Fair, Goodwill & Beneficial to All

We meet In Person
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Best Western Bidarka Inn
575 Sterling Hwy
PO Box 377
Homer, AK 99603
United States of America
Currently meetings are being held both "in person" and by Zoom.
It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of our longtime member, Will Files on July 27, 2021. Will was a devoted husband and father. Will was a constant champion for our community and raised thousands of dollars for youth programs such as the SPARC. Will was a 2017 Recipient of Rotary's Service Above Self Award. Our thoughts are with Martha Ellen and the family during this difficult time. 
 

July 27 Update

COVID Clinic at 4201 Bartlett Street

Pfizer and Janssen vaccines – available 7 days a week.

Moderna vaccines – available only on Fridays

Walk-ins welcome from 9am-5pm daily, or click below to make an appointment

 Moderna    Pfizer & Janssen*
NOTE: as of July 26 we are temporarily out of Janssen vaccines

Back-to-School Reminder – It takes five weeks to be considered fully vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine. Parental consent is required for minors. Learn more about vaccine safety in minors in letter to parents from Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

Get $40 in Homer bucks with every vaccine (while supplies last).  Already received a vaccine? Alaskan residents who have already received a Covid-19 vaccine can put their name into a drawing for $100 and $250 gift cards to local businesses. Winners will be drawn every other Thursday, and your name will stay in the pot throughout the month of September for up to five chances to win! Stop by the Covid Clinic at 4201 Bartlett Street to enter your name in the drawing.

Vaccines are now offered during your appointments at Homer Medical Center and the SPH Family Care Clinic. Inquire at time of your appointment. Click here for a complete list of vaccine providers on the Southern Kenai Peninsula.

Pfizer vaccine is now authorized for individuals 12 years of age and older. Moderna and Janssen vaccines are authorized only for individuals 18 years of age and older Who is eligible? Anyone 12 and older. Vaccine Information: Information about COVID-19 vaccines approved by FDA Emergency Use Authorization:

The Lambda Variant: What You Should Know And Why Experts Say Not To Panic
 
July 22, 2021 3:09 PM ET
Laurel Wamsley at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., November 7, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)
 
A medical assistant administers a coronavirus test last week in Los Angeles. COVID-19 cases are on the rise as the highly transmissible delta variant has become the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
 
While the delta variant of the coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States, it's not the only variant circulating in the population.
 
The lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states. Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case of the variant this week. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina recently announced they had found the variant in a virus sample taken in April.
 
According to a database for scientists tracking coronavirus variants, fewer than 700 cases of the lambda variant have been sequenced in the U.S. so far out of more than 34 million coronavirus cases reported to date. But the U.S. has sequenced only a tiny fraction of its cases, so that number does not reflect the actual number of lambda cases in the country
.
Fewer than 1% of U.S. cases in the last four weeks have been identified as the lambda variant, according to GISAID, a repository for genome data.
 
So do we need to add lambda to our list of big worries in the U.S.? Not yet, according to public health officials and experts.
The delta variant, which is more than two times as transmissible as the original strain of the coronavirus, now accounts for 83% of new coronavirus cases in the United States. Delta continues to be the central concern for public health officials.
 
What we know about the lambda variant
The lambda variant was first identified in Peru in August 2020, according to the World Health Organization. Cases with the variant have now been identified in 28 countries, according to GISAID — though many of those have identified only a handful of lambda cases.
 
Dr. Stuart Ray is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he specializes in infectious diseases. Ray opened one of the first COVID-19 wards at Johns Hopkins in March 2020, and he has also overseen Johns Hopkins' COVID-19 sequencing efforts.
 
He tells NPR that lambda is "sort of a cousin of the alpha variant" — one of the earliest identified variants of concern.
 
Lambda spread until it became a dominant sequence in people with COVID-19 in Peru. The WHO noted last month an elevated presence of lambda in other South American countries, including Argentina, Chile and Ecuador. And now we know it's present in the United States.
 
The lambda variant carries a number of mutations with suspected implications, such as potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies, the WHO says. But it says the full extent of those mutations' impact isn't yet well understood and will need further study.
 
While there hasn't been clear head-to-head data, the evidence so far does not suggest the lambda variant has any great advantage over the delta variant, Ray says.
"Delta is clearly dominating right now. And so I think our focus can remain on delta as a hallmark of a highly infectious variant. And there's some evidence that it might cause greater severity per infection, although that's still a developing story," he says.
 
A doctor checks a lung X-ray while visiting a patient with COVID-19 in Comas, in the northern outskirts of Lima, Peru.
Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images
 
The COVID-19 vaccines work well against variants
There isn't yet full data on vaccine effectiveness against the lambda variant. But so far, studies have found that the vaccines available in the U.S. provide protection against the major strains of the virus, including the highly transmissible delta variant.
 
"We know that vaccination almost uniformly protects people," Ray says.
 
The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. now are among unvaccinated people.
 
Studies have found that the vaccines are less effective at generating neutralizing antibodies against the variants of concern than against the original strain of the virus. But T cells also play a significant role in the body's immune response, and T cell response isn't measured in neutralizing-antibody clinical tests — meaning that the vaccines could be more effective against the variants than is suggested by tests of antibody response alone.
 
WHO says lambda is a variant of interest. CDC does not
The WHO now assigns Greek letters to strains of the coronavirus that are classified as variants of concern or variants of interest. A variant of concern is one that has characteristics such as being significantly more transmissible or more virulent.
 
The alphabetical order of the variants' Greek-letter names indicates the order in which they were identified as potentially important — they are not in any particular alphabetical order of severity.
 
The alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants are all considered variants of concern by the WHO.
 
The WHO classified lambda last month as a global "variant of interest" — a step below variant of concern. That means it exhibits genetic changes suspected of affecting its transmissibility and disease severity and has been identified as causing significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps its own list of variants of concern and interest within the United States. Notably, lambda is not on the CDC's list as being a variant of interest, concern or high consequence.
 
Ray says tracking variants is important so that we don't get blindsided by one's sudden arrival.
 
"We have to be vigilant for these new variants and track them. Genomic epidemiology remains an important activity for us to understand this epidemic," Ray says. "But I think right now lambda is a variant of interest, and we'll see whether it becomes a variant of concern."
 
The things we need to do to counter new strains are the same things that we already know to do to against the coronavirus — and the stakes are high because delta is so transmissible.
 
That means vaccination is more important than ever, Ray says: "As the variants become more infectious, then the proportion of vaccinated people required to control the epidemic increases."
Speakers
Adam Hays
Sep 16, 2021 12:00 PM
Rotary Life
Cheryl Metiva
Sep 23, 2021 12:00 PM
DG Annual Visit
Mike Miller
Oct 14, 2021 12:00 PM
Homer Foundation
Dennis Weidler
Oct 28, 2021 12:00 PM
Homer Food Pantry
Brad Janorschke
Nov 04, 2021 12:00 PM
Homer Electric Association Strategic Plan for 50% renewable goal by 2025
Bernie Griffard
Nov 11, 2021 12:00 PM
Club Day
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