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Governor’s office: All adults should be eligible for vaccine on April 1

Darren Peterson, left, gets the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Nichole Makaafi at a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Intermountain Healthcare’s The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — All adult Utahns may be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on April 1, according to Governor Spencer Cox’s office. 

Making all adults eligible for a vaccine 

The possible eligibility changes would come in anticipation of the state’s mask mandate ending by April 10.

“Once it became clear that the Legislature planned to end the mask mandate immediately, and with a veto proof majority, our administration worked with them to push the date back to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” they said in a statement to KSL.

“It’s important to note that the mask mandate will continue after April 10 in schools and for large gatherings. Also, businesses can still require masks. And of course, every individual can choose to wear a mask. We anticipate opening up vaccine eligibility to every adult in the state on April 1 and will likely have 1.5 million first doses in the state by April 10.”

State health officials report that Utah has received over 1 million vaccines. Of that number, 878,487 doses have been administered, with 573,525 people who have got at least one dose and 319,127 people fully vaccinated.

When dropping the age eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine in the past, Governor Spencer Cox has preached about the importance of remaining patient.


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“This will flood phone lines and servers and more and more people will be trying to sign-up,” Governor Cox said in February.

Additionally, he has routinely stressed the importance of having more people eligible than there are current vaccines available.

“That’s how we make sure that every vaccine is being used,” he explained.

The race for vaccines 

On average, the state is getting 65,000 doses of the vaccine per week, according to Rich Lakin, Immunization Program Manager for the Utah Department of Health. And with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the number of allotted doeses increases to around  85,000 per week. 

However, in order to meet the demand and state goals, Lakin told Dave and Dujanovic he hopes more vaccines will be shipped to Utah soon. “Right now things are kind of stagnant,” said Lakin. “We just don’t know how many [vaccine doses] we are going to receive week to week.”

 But Lakin said Utah won’t see the Johnson & Johnson shot until the end of the month. He said while he isn’t 100% sure why Utah isn’t getting the one-dose vaccine, he speculated it has to do with transportation issues. 

With Gov. Cox anticipating all adult Utahns to be eligible for the vaccine by April 1, Lakin said more vaccine doses are absolutely needed. He expects that come April, the state will see “tens of thousands of more doses.” 

 

13 more deaths coming from the virus

On Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health reported that 13 more Utahns have died from the virus, while another 560 people tested positive.

UDOH officials add that one of the people who died was between the ages of 1-14. At this time, 187 people are hospitalized with the virus.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is 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.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • 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.
  • Get vaccinated.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

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