This week Governor Spencer Cox confirmed in his weekly COVID-19 update press release that Utah would stay the course in its planned COVID-19 vaccine distribution schedule and will begin providing vaccinations to residents 70 years and older, beginning on January 18, 2021. Thus far, Utah has provided vaccinations to medical providers and first responders (many of whom have also received the second dose of the vaccine), long-term and nursing home residents, and currently the state is providing doses of the vaccine to K-12 educators and staff.
This week the United State Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that the vaccine should be administered to individuals who are 65 years and older. However, Utah has resisted this move solely due to the extremely limited number of vaccines being delivered to the state of Utah. Currently, Utah is receiving approximately 30,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine per week. However, Utah has a population of 70+ year olds that exceeds 200,000 and there is no need to decrease the age requirement to 65 years for several weeks, or until the number of vaccines available increases.
In order to better improve Utah’s distribution of the vaccine, Governor Cox has mandated reporting of administered vaccines by 7:00 a.m. each morning. This was done to ensure that no public health department administering the vaccine has excess supplies that are not being administered promptly. The federal government has provided information to the states that any state not administering vaccines promptly may begin receiving a reduced allocation of vaccines with a redistribution to those states promptly administering the vaccine to its citizens. With Utah’s enhanced reporting and redistribution of vaccines between public health departments, Utah is leaving little to chance with the threat of federal vaccine supply limitations.