SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Spencer Cox said more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be given to Utah.
At his weekly news conference on the pandemic response, Gov. Cox said President Biden's administration is planning to increase Utah's weekly allotment to 40,000 doses. For the second week in a row, Utah has exhausted all of its vaccine supply as it inoculates K-12 educators, health care workers and those over age 70.
"I’m more optimistic now than I was even a week ago and more optimistic than I was at any time over the past year," Gov. Cox said.
The governor also anticipated federal approval of two other COVID-19 vaccines, significantly increasing the number of vaccines available to people. Next week, the state anticipates releasing its list of co-morbidities that would qualify in the next wave of vaccinations.
With more vaccine supply coming to Utah, Gov. Cox confirmed in an answer to a question by FOX 13 that he was in preliminary discussions about when to lift COVID-related health restrictions like the statewide mask mandate, physical distancing requirements and other regulations.
"We are starting those conversations and we will be working with the legislature and of course the department of health," Gov. Cox said.
But right now, there is not enough vaccine to make it possible. In fact, demand has exceeded supply and seniors have complained of not being able to get in to get the vaccine. Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson said local health departments are booking appointments for those who can't get in right now so that they'll get a shot when supply returns. They are also crafting "stand by" lists for others.
Meanwhile, Utah seems to be see trending in a good direction for COVID-19 cases. The Utah Department of Health reported declines in positive cases and hospitalizations.
"All of these key indicators are definitely trending in the right direction," said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
She urged Utahns to continue to wear masks, physical distance, stay home when sick and practice good hygiene, especially as the more infectious UK variant of COVID-19 is now confirmed to be in the state.