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Poll finds over two-thirds of Utahns willing to get COVID-19 vaccine

Spencer Jensen, music teacher at the Legacy Preparatory Academy receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the Davis County Legacy Center Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Farmington, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new poll shows that more than two-thirds of Utahns now plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Poll sheds light on Utahns willingness to be vaccinated

While 67% of Utahns want the shots, 21% say they don’t plan to get vaccinated and 12% still aren’t sure. The results come from a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll, which was conducted Jan. 12-15 of 1,000 registered Utah voters.

Local health leaders are calling the poll results a significant step in the right direction. It comes after a poll in September, which found that roughly half of all Utahns would take a federal Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine when available. 

“That’s encouraging, as long as we stay up there in that 67% or more as we are able to help the undecided individuals understand the importance,” says Dr. Brandon Webb, infectious diseases physician with Intermountain Healthcare. “I think those numbers are cautiously optimistic.”

Is two-thirds enough?

What remains unclear to experts, is whether vaccinating roughly two-thirds of the population will be enough to provide widespread immunity in the state.

Current estimates are that it could take between 70% to 90% of the population to develop resistance to the virus. But there remain unknowns, including how long immunity lasts and the impact of future virus mutations. Experts say vaccines may only be effective for nine months to a year, and while it’s widely believed to be effective against the current variants, that may not be the case for new strains.  

Roughly 10% of Utah’s more than 3.2 million residents have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began. In Utah, groups authorized to be vaccinated include front-line hospital and other health care workers, emergency services personnel, first responders, long-term care facility staff and residents, teachers and staff and those 70 and older.

Currently, the Utah Department of Health reports 173,587 Utahns have received their first dose of the vaccine and 20,190, their second dose. UDOH does not have overall numbers on what percentage of those eligible have chosen to be vaccinated.