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Healthcare workers among the first in Utah to get Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool)

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – Healthcare workers at MountainStar Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful have become some of the first in Utah to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

The hospital’s Director of Critical Care Jacci Kennedy said she was happy to roll up her sleeve and get a shot. 

“We are here to take care of people. We are here to take care of our community,” Kennedy told KSL-TV. “And we can continue to do so healthy.”

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine ships in smaller packages. It can also be stored in a regular freezer, unlike Pfizer’s vaccine which needs to be held in large, subzero ones. 

Nurse Liz Barnes said that means smaller clinics and rural areas can now be vaccinated. 

“With it just being easier to store, it’s just going to be so much easier to get it to everybody in those rural communities,” Barnes said. 

However, there was a hitch in the vaccination plan: There were only 500 doses available.

CEO Troy Wood said there are 600 employees at Lakeview Hospital. 

“We will be able to vaccinate throughout today, tomorrow, and Wednesday,” Wood said. “We’ll apply for more. We will, at that point, be able to disseminate it to community physicians.”

“We did receive notification that we are slated to receive 47,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine throughout the week,” said the Utah Department of Health in a statement to KSL NewsRadio. “Most of these doses will be reserved for long-term care facility residents and staff, as well as healthcare workers in hospitals.”

Lakeview was not the only hospital to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to its workers. Ogden Regional Medical Center also vaccinated its staff.