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Herbert expects public to get COVID-19 vaccine by April

Gov. Herbert
Posted at 1:29 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 18:19:21-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert expects widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine in April, with summer being when health restrictions might be lifted.

The governor made the announcement in an interview with FOX 13 on Monday where he reflected on the past 12 years of his administration.

"I think probably by April we’ll have the vaccines where everybody that wants to have the inoculation can get it, that’ll make 2021 our great year of recovery," he said. "And I think by summertime we’ll be in full-blown recovery and go back to normalcy when it comes to our social interaction."

Gov. Herbert said more companies offering the vaccine means more doses will be available across the state. The Utah Department of Health has prioritized health care workers first, then long-term care facilities, teachers and essential workers. The agency has said it could see the vaccine being available for widspread distribution as early as March, or as late as July.

The timeline is one that has rapidly changed (and will change again) based on vaccine dosage availability. UDOH told FOX 13 its latest time frame for vaccine rollout has general public access possibly around April.

But until then, Gov. Herbert said Utahns must still practice physical distancing, wearing face coverings, limiting the size of gatherings and good hygiene. Utah did not see as big of a surge of Thanksgiving-related COVID-19 cases, because people limited their gatherings.

"We didn’t have the surge after thanksgiving that we thought. I like the numbers we see right now. We have a slight decline in our case numbers and our infection rate. Our hospitals are pretty much filled to the brim but they’re not over the brim, looks like we have slight decrease in ICU bed space," Gov. Herbert said Monday. "Those are good things."

The governor said he did have concerns about Christmas and New Year's and holidays around them and reminded people "you need to be careful."

"We’re not out of the woods yet. The vaccine has come, but don’t relax because the vaccine’s coming. In fact, if anything let’s redouble our efforts to make sure we get into the spring in a very good position," he said.