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Health officials looking to balance supply, demand of COVID-19 vaccine

State health officials are looking to increase both supply and demand for the COVID-19 vaccine as all adult Utahns become eligible by mid-week. (PHOTO: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — State health officials are looking to increase both supply and demand for the COVID-19 vaccine as all adult Utahns become eligible by mid-week.

More supply than demand leads to eligibility change

The change in eligibility comes after local health departments noticed their supply on-hand was outweighing the short-term demand. To ensure that all vaccines would be used, they urged Governor Spencer Cox to expedite the process of opening eligibility to all adults in the state.

In a press conference last week, he detailed the process.

“The local health departments, as well as our state health department, have asked me to open up vaccinations to everyone in the state earlier than we had planned,” he explained. “We will authorize vaccinations for everyone in the state. That is everyone age 18 and over and everyone 16 to 18 for Pfizer.”

The change in policy will certainly create an uptick in demand, although it will also task the state with keeping up in terms of vaccine supply.

So far there have been no major issues with scheduling backlogs, but keep in mind that only around 52% of adults in Utah are currently eligible to get a vaccine. In a couple days that percentage will essentially double to 100%.

More demand means longer wait times

Predicting an onslaught of interest, Governor Cox has warned all residents that it may take some time to actually receive a vaccine.

“This is a significant movement in timing,” he said. “It also means that there will not be a vaccine available for everyone in the state [this week]. It may take a few weeks for you to be able to schedule an opportunity to get vaccinated.”

Utah COVID-19 vaccine sign up information

Prior to changing the state guidelines, Governor Cox and the state health department were eyeing April 1 as a target date to open vaccine eligibility to all adult Utah residents.


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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