NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah — As demand for the COVID-19 vaccine outpaces supply in Utah, younger people at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus don’t know when they can receive an immunization.
Three-hundred and 20 days.
“Honestly, I hate it,” said Kaytlin Beckett.
That’s how long Kaytlin’s self-isolated during the pandemic.
“This is not good for your mental health. Cancer is not good for your mental health but like, this is not good for your mental health,” said Kaytlin.
Doctors diagnosed the 35-year-old attorney with leukemia one month before the pandemic.
“I was talking to my doctor after the pandemic hit and he was like, ‘All we know is that your ability to build antibodies is like borderline non-existent.’ My immune system doesn’t work at the same capacity as other people,“ said Kaytlin.
Her particular cancer cannot be cured, only managed. COVID-19 is almost guaranteed to put her in the hospital.
Yet, Utah’s current vaccine rollout may make her wait months.
“At this point, there just isn’t enough vaccine to go around,” Utah Department of Health spokesperson Charla Haley said.
Utah’s Vaccination Plan prioritizes people with obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and COPD, but it’s unclear when they can get in line.
Left off the list are people with cancer, pregnant or those with compromised immunity.
“I think there will be a plan in place before there is vaccine available, if that makes sense. It all depends on vaccine availability and how soon it is released to us,” Haley said.
After finishing vaccinations for people 70 and older, the state announced it will move down to people 65 and above, then on to people with co-morbidities.
Yet, right now, the state doesn’t have enough to finish the oldest group.
“I just want to know when, right? When. When can people in my position have access to that vaccine,” said Kaytlin.
It will be up to the COVID Unified Command, Department of Health and the Governor’s office to decide which other conditions qualify for an early vaccine. It is unclear when that decision will be made.