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Local health departments call for patience with vaccine distribution

(Vials containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah — With all Utahns age 16 and over now eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, local health departments find their appointments booking up fast. They say patience is the key to getting your shot. 

Patience key to COVID-19 vaccine access

In an interview with Dave & Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio, Aislynn Tolman-Hill, spokesperson for the Utah County Health Department, said local agencies receive more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine all the time. 

“So Utah County, for instance, just on a routine basis, opens appointments each Thursday evening for the following week,” Tolman-Hill said. 

Last week, that caused some confusion when Gov. Spencer Cox announced Utahns over the age of 16 would soon be eligible to schedule vaccine appointments. The announcement meant those appointments would start as soon as March 24, but in several counties, health officials started allowing residents who qualify to sign up for those appointments last week. For Utah County, that meant the appointments that opened up last Thursday for this week filled up in just 20 minutes. 

“The state of Utah, we arewe are trying very hard to get as many people vaccinated as possible starting on the 24th,” Tolman-Hill said. 

What not to do

She encouraged families with multiple members eligible to exercise patience — and not to take up more vaccine appointments than absolutely necessary. 

“Really, we just would ask for, you know, for families to try to communicate amongst themselves, to have to really try to decide … who’s going to try to get the appointment or rather, you know, then who is going to try to cancel and kind of keep one of those appointments, because it does cause a problem,” she said. “And then it’s essentially taking, you know, time slots away from someone else in the community.”

Host Debbie Dujanovic pointed out that some listeners worry that health departments opening up the COVID-19 vaccine to younger Utahns means they might not receive their second dose on time. 

“What about those who are 50 and over who haven’t got their second does yet?” Debbie asked. “Will there be enough supply to go around?” 

“Yes, absolutely,” Tolman-Hill said. “You are guaranteed that second dose.” 

Listen to more of Tolman-Hill’s answers submitted by listeners on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast. 

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, 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.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • 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).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

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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