Utah is expected to get more and more COVID-19 vaccine doses, beyond what the state’s 13 local health departments can handle, so new partners are joining in efforts to vaccinate the public.
That means more places to get vaccinated and that the rate of vaccinations in Utah should start to trend upward.
In Weber County, McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, part of Intermountain Healthcare, will start assisting with vaccinations to those eligible to get them per Utah Department of Health guidelines. Nomi Health will start offering vaccinations on Thursday at the Megaplex Theaters complex in Centerville and add a site in the Logan area next week.
Intermountain will also vaccinate at several other hospitals in its system, in Logan, Park City, St. George, Riverton and Provo. Likewise, the University of Utah Health system will offer vaccinations at three additional clinics, including its Farmington location.
“These partners will increase our reach throughout the state. They will offer large-scale vaccination clinics in some areas where we are currently unable to do so,” Utah Department of Health spokesperson Tom Hudachko said at a press conference Monday to unveil the expanded vaccination effort.
Utah is expected to receive 122,000 doses of vaccine this week, about as much as the state’s 13 local health departments can administer. First doses from vaccine-manufacturer Moderna are expected to double next week while Pfizer’s vaccine shipments are expected to more than double. At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday authorized use of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson and it will start coming to Utah as well.
“So we are expecting to receive significantly more vaccine in the state in the coming weeks and that’s why we need to rely on additional partners to be able to get those doses out to the community,” Hudachko said.
At the same time, the number of new cases, week over week, continues to decline, additional good news in efforts to corral COVID-19. In Weber and Morgan counties, the number of new cases for the week ending last Saturday totaled 254, the seventh straight week of declines and the lowest figure since September. The number of new cases in Davis County dipped below 600 for the first time there since October. Statewide, the average daily case count for the seven days through Feb. 28 totaled 635.7 per day, the lowest since mid-September.
Those eligible to receive the vaccine, according to guidelines set by state health officials, include those age 65 and up, health care workers, first responders and long-term care facility staffers. Teachers and those age 16 and up with certain medical conditions may also get the vaccine. The pool of those eligible to be vaccinated will be expanded to new groups as time passes, possibly starting in April, but health officials haven’t pinpointed a precise timeline.
Kristin Dascomb, a doctor with Intermountain Healthcare, said those wanting to schedule a vaccination appointment at McKay-Dee or the other Intermountain sites offering vaccinations should do so online at intermountain.com/covidvaccine. Alternatively, call 887-777-0566 for assistance via phone. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, requiring just one shot, not two, as with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, will be offered at McKay-Dee.
Nomi Health, contracted by the state to help out, has already been offering vaccinations at varied Megaplex Theaters locations in Lehi, Vineyard and West Valley City. That’s to expand to Centerville and the Logan area. Register online at getmyshot.utah.gov or call 801-704-5911 for help, said June Steely, a Nomi Health doctor.
University of Utah Health officials will be contacting eligible patients in its electronic health records system and sending invitations to them to get vaccinated.
Meantime, the Weber-Morgan Health Department continues with its vaccination efforts at the Dee Events Center on the Weber State University campus. The Davis County Health Department is vaccinating at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. Go to the departments’ respective websites, webermorganhealth.org/coronavirus and daviscountyutah.gov/health/covid-19/vaccine, for more details.
According to the Weber-Morgan Health Department website, Harmons in Roy, Lee’s Marketplace in North Ogden, Fresh Market in South Ogden and Macey’s in Ogden are also offering vaccinations. Walmart is also offering vaccinations at several locations in Utah.
An error on the COVID-19 vaccination website run by the Utah Department of Health, vaccinate.utah.gov, improperly allowed 7,200 people who aren’t in the eligible pool to register to make vaccination appointments. The health department tweeted Saturday that those appointments would be canceled and apologized for the mistake.
Per guidelines set by federal authorities, vaccination doses have been distributed proportionately across the nation based on each state’s share of the adult-aged population in the country. Utah’s population contains 0.84% of adult-aged people in the country and that’s the share of vaccine produced that’s coming to the state, according to Hudachko.