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Frontline Utah healthcare workers could get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Posted at 12:30 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 14:30:22-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine should be available for frontline healthcare workers in Utah next week.

That from the Utah Department of Health during a Salt Lake Chamber webinar Tuesday morning.

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The state request is for the first doses of the vaccine to arrive the week of December 13 with the hope it will be available by the 15.

“Then we move into the following week where we just continue to expand and adding all of the hospitals where they can receive vaccine,” said Rich Lakin, Immunization Program Manager with the Utah Department of Health.

The first round will go to hospitals that have ultra cold storage, because the vaccine needs to be kept at -80°C and hospitals that are seeing the most COVID-19 patients. Those hospitals are University of Utah Health and the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

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“So our goal for December and January is to ensure that all healthcare workers are vaccinated not only in hospitals but also in private practices, dentists, it’s a very broad umbrella that we have encompassed here,” Lakin said. “And then we also got our long-term care facilities which includes the staff and the residents within those facilities.”

If they achieve those goals then it’s on to February and March when first responders like firefighters, paramedics, police and others as well as essential workers will then be vaccinated.

After that, April through June, officials say the vaccine should be available to every Utahn who wants it.

READ: Officials think 20M in US will get first dose of vaccine by end of month, 100M vaccinated by March

But UDOH wants to caution everyone that vaccine availability will drive all of this, depending on how much and how quickly the state receives it.

In terms of business owners preparing for 2021, officials say people who work in any business, especially the hospitality field, need to be vaccinated.

That’s because they say basically there is no return to normal if not enough people get the vaccination.