SALT LAKE CITY– Utah Gov. Spencer Cox announced Thursday the state is expanding the number of Utahns who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Effective Monday, March 8, the following groups will be eligible to make appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine:
- All residents 50 years of age and older
- 16 years and older with certain underlying health conditions
- Anyone with type I or II diabetes
- Anyone who is obese and who has a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher
- Anyone with chronic kidney disease
This is the largest group — 600,000 to 700,000 people — the state has added to its eligibility. The group also includes everyone who has a risk factor above 1 — basically everyone who is the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Cox said if vaccine distribution continues on its current trajectory, all Utahns will be able to receive the vaccine by April.
Currently, at least 75% of Utahns 75 years and older have gotten at least their first dose of the vaccine, and 52% of Utahns between the ages of 65-69 have gotten at least one vaccine shot as well, Cox stated.
More vaccine doses are on the way. Cox announced the state has been shipped 23,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the first vaccinations are expected to happen Thursday.
Cox said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a game-changer.
“It gets the job done in one shot,” said Cox. “And that is so critical for many in our population.”
Additionally, Cox said he is encouraged by a recent survey indicating 78% of Utahns are willing to get one of the three authorized vaccines.
“The best vaccine for you is the vaccine you can get first,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
Last week, the state administered 660,444 doses of the vaccine, which is an increase of 125,079 doses from the previous week.
To date, Utah has administered 785,523 doses.
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced the state has created a vaccination roadmap for Utahns in marginalized communities, such as Utah’s homeless population and rural areas.
A look at the coronavirus numbers
The state reported 611 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. Since Wednesday, 7,286 more people were tested for COVID-19.
The rolling 7-day average for percent positivity of “people over people” is 10.0%, with an average of 558 positive cases per day.
Currently, 203 residents are hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications, and 87 people have been admitted into intensive care units. The total number of hospitalizations since the outbreak totals 14,816.
Another 12 Utahns have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday. Seven of the 12 deaths occurred before Feb. 11. Additionally, two previously reported deaths on Feb. 23 were retracted.
Since the start of the pandemic, 1,965 Utahns have died from the virus.
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