SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert and Governor-elect Spencer Cox will not be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Utah's Department of Health has determined the leaders of the state will be vaccinated when it is made available to people in their same age and health risk categories. The two will not be receiving any kind of special treatment.
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"Gov. Herbert and Gov.-Elect Cox have great confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and both look forward to receiving the vaccine as soon as it is available to them," Herbert spokeswoman Anna Lehnardt told FOX 13. "However, Utah’s vaccine deployment plan is built around risk, not privilege. They and their staff will each receive the vaccine when it is administered to people with similar ages and health conditions."
For Gov. Herbert, he may receive it in January when people over the age of 65 are expected to begin getting vaccinated. The governor is 73. For Gov.-elect Cox, who is 45, he will have to wait longer.
The White House walked back plans to have those closest to President Trump and Vice-President Pence vaccinated ahead of higher risk groups, according to the Associated Press. Utah's Department of Health has said there was never any plans to allow the governor or governor-elect or other executive branch members the ability to jump in line.
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Following CDC and Utah Department of Health protocols, health care workers directly working with COVID-19 patients will be the first to receive the vaccine. Then, as availability happens, it will branch out to other hospital workers, long-term care facilities, teachers and other essential workers. The general public is not expected to receive the vaccine until March at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Gov.-elect Cox and Lt. Governor-elect Deidre Henderson will be self-quarantining ahead of their inauguration events in southern Utah next month, FOX 13 has confirmed.
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"Like so many Utahns, Gov.-elect Cox and Lt. Gov.-elect Henderson are following the guidance from the Department of Health to physically distance and limit in-person contact with others," said Cox spokeswoman Jennifer Napier-Pearce. "But the work of the transition continues full speed ahead. The governor-elect has 52 meetings scheduled this week with more than 100 people as he works to build a cabinet and refine policies. Thanks to technology, he can continue working hard while helping to keep people safe."