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COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed to healthcare workers in Utah

Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 16:20:28-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare says that more high risk healthcare workers are getting the COVID-19 vaccine every day and case counts in Utah have begin to decrease.

While doctor's are optimistic about new trends and the COVID-19 vaccine, they are still asking Utahn's to wear face masks and keep social distancing.

Doctors expect that deaths related to COVID-19 will rise over the next few weeks because of the large spike in cases Utah saw right before Thanksgiving.

As for updates in vaccine distribution, so far 407 caregivers have been given the vaccine.

Dr. Eddie Stenehjem says the mood at the hospital has been more optimistic ever since the vaccine started rolling out.

"It was just a celebratory atmosphere you know the caregivers that were there giving the vaccine, getting the vaccine, it was, it felt like a celebration," Stenehjem said.

Stenehjem was one of the caregivers to receive the vaccine. He says so far he feels great, but some people will feel symptoms after they are vaccinated.

"Why people have fever, chills, fatigue, headache, is that's the sign of your immune system working, that's the sign of your immune system getting revved up and responding to proteins that's being displayed on some of your cells and developing an immune reaction," Stenehjem says. "[Your body] is generating antibodies and memory cells and T cells so then the next time you see that protein on the live virus it can respond to it and essentially prevent you from getting ill."

After the most at risk healthcare workers are given the vaccine, distribution will be opened up to other healthcare workers, the elderly, and people of high risk.

The general public is expected to get access to the vaccine in the spring and summer months of 2021.