SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Health Department opened more than 45,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments Monday morning. As of 5 p.m., more than 18,500 appointments had been filled. And on Wednesday, all Utahns over the age of 16 will be eligible for the vaccine.
More than one million people in Utah have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. People need to be patient as vaccination appointments become available for such a large group, Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp said.
“It is going to take several weeks to get everyone in the community vaccinated,” he said.
As of Monday evening, the county said it had 28,170 appointments were still available — but none before April 13.
An easy tool to find a vaccine appointment near you is vaccinefinder.org. This is the tool Veon Mower used to make her and her two children's appointments. Through the website, which she found from coronavirus.utah.gov, she was able to make appointments for Thursday.
“When I got the appointment, my son was sitting in the kitchen and I did a ridiculous happy dance. I was, like, so excited,” she said.
It is like freedom for her and her two children ages 18 and 20, she said.
“We have always worn our masks and tried to be careful, but there’s just this feeling of being able to relax and have some freedom again,” she said.
This is the beginning of the end, Rupp said. People who make appointments with the Salt Lake County Health Department will not be able to choose which vaccine they get and there is a very limited supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Rupp warned.
“We are reserving it for situations where it could be difficult to locate someone for their second dose, such as people experiencing homelessness,” he said.
While some places offer vaccine appointments to people at the end of the day, often referred to as “vaccine shopping,” that is not something the Salt Lake County Health Department is doing, so people need to plan on making appointments, Rupp said.
“We only draw up a dose when the person who that dose is intended is physically on site at our facility, so we don’t have doses at the end of the day at Salt Lake County sites," he said. "And in the very rare circumstances we may have one or two left in a vile, that dose goes to a staff member or volunteer."