SALT LAKE CITY — More Utahns may be able to get their COVID-19 shots by April.
Rich Lakin, the Utah Department of Health Immunization Program Manager said that starting at the end of the month, the state will be getting more doses of the vaccine.
“The federal government doesn’t provide us much information, but I can tell you right now it’s about 33,000 doses per week starting the week of January 31st,” Lakin told KSL Newsradio’s Dave and Dujanovic Show.
“That means, I think April is a really good timeframe for the rest of Utahns,” he said.
Teachers began receiving their vaccination shots today, with teachers aged 70 or over receiving priority.
Utah’s slow rollout of COVID-19 shots
Last week, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said he wanted to ramp up the pace at which Utahns are being vaccinated and increase the daily number from the current 3,500 doses per day to more than 4,000 doses administered per day.
On Monday, the Utah Department of Health reported that 103,547 doses of the vaccine have been administered so far.
But nearly 200,000 doses have been delivered to the state since mid-December according to the Utah Department of Health.
Lakin said the seemingly slow response can be explained.
“We gave a lot of vaccines to hospitals,” he said, “and that’s really not their job — to vaccinate health care workers at a really fast pace.”
Nevertheless, hospital workers were considered a priority in the vaccine timeline created by Utah officials. So they were some of the first to receive doses.
Then, Larkin said, came the Christmas and New Year holidays, and the appointment schedule slowed down even more.
Beginning the week of December 28, 2020, Larkin said the state began shipping vaccines to local health departments. Now, he said, officials at those local health departments are “rolling through vaccines.”
The rollout of COVID-19 shots for those 70 and older
Since the pandemic began, global, national, and local health care workers have warned that senior citizens were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
Yet that general category of Utahns was not first on the vaccination schedule. Larkin said the initial priority was for health care workers, those in long-term care facilities, and teachers.
But the rollout for Utahns who are 70 and older – is now ramping up. Those in that age group can begin receiving vaccinations on January 18.
Larkin said those Utahns age 70 and older who wish to receive a vaccination must first contact their local health department and make an appointment.
“That is to prevent them from standing in line,” he said. And by making an appointment, Utah’s senior citizens will more easily be able to maintain social distance between themselves and others.
Larkin said that younger Utahns should ask to assist their parents or other loved ones with making this appointment. Click here for a list of health departments in Utah and their telephone numbers.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
- Get a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
Why is KSL NewsRadio covering this?
We have seen many comments on our social media channels and heard many comments on our call-in lines from listeners with questions about the vaccine timeline and, specifically, when senior citizens aged 70 and older can start signing up for their vaccine shots.