Utah Governor Spencer Cox has announced that adults throughout Utah will be able to schedule Covid-19 vaccinations beginning on March 24th. In addition, the Pfizer vaccine will be available to those ages 16 to 18. It is the only vaccine approved so far for the younger age group.
The vaccination expansion was announced sooner than expected. This was partly due to requests from local health departments. As the state races to provide vaccinations to underserved populations, such as the homeless and other groups, mobile units often provide those vaccines.
According to Cox, the process is slowed in those areas by requiring eligibility factors. Furthermore, about 15% of appointments for next week have not yet been filled. Expanding the offerings to all adults will allow faster and less complicated vaccinations.
To achieve “herd immunity,” where vaccinated individuals can provide significant protection for those who are unvaccinated, 70% to 90% of the population must receive the vaccine. Herd immunity through vaccinations have already successfully controlled diseases such as smallpox, polio, and many others.
Cox mentioned that Utah is 6th in the nation for giving vaccinations and has currently given over one million vaccinations. “I want to encourage people that are eligible right now . . . to continue to schedule those vaccines,” he said.
“As always,” Cox continued, “I want to encourage people to please be patient. The phone lines might be jammed, and servers might be backed up. And again, there won’t be enough doses in the state for everyone for a few weeks. But we are heading in the right direction.”
He also discussed Covid counts and that numbers are going down drastically overall. The Governor reemphasized that the State mask mandate will continue until April 10th. Mask wearing will still be required in schools beyond that date. “The good news for everyone is case counts are really low,” he said.