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Intermountain Health to join efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccination sites

(State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn, dressed in brown, poses with workers from Intermountain Healthcare after they get vaccinated. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- Intermountain Health Care will join forces with local and state health organizations to expand vaccination efforts statewide, the organization announced Friday. This includes deploying 1,000 caregivers throughout the state and assisting with the opening of nine new vaccination sites. 

This comes as state officials prepare to lower the age requirement for a COVID-19 vaccination to 65 years old and to include adults with certain medical conditions based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current vaccination efforts are focused on Utahns 70 and older, healthcare professionals, first responders and K-12 teachers. 

“We don’t want any vaccine sitting unused, and more doses are becoming available soon, so we are supportive of accelerating the process by making vaccines available to more people,” said Dr. Mark Briesacher, Intermountain senior vice president and chief physician executive, in a statement. “Vaccination clinics for those age 70+ have started to see more unfilled appointments, so expanding eligibility is a prudent course of action.” 

Nearly half of Utah’s population older than 70 years old has been vaccinated, according to Intermountain Health Care. As a result, Briesacher said it’s time to expand vaccination efforts. 

Intermountain Health’s latest push to send workers statewide comes after months of vaccination events hosted at facilities across Utah. As more vaccines become available, Intermountain is “eager for timetables to speed up.”