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Salt Lake County explains, apologizes for vaccine distribution issues at Sandy expo center

Posted at 9:40 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 01:47:50-05

SANDY, Utah — The Salt Lake County Health Department apologized for the way vaccines were distributed at the Mountain America Expo Center on Saturday.

The wait time surged to nearly three hours for thousands of people who had appointments to get vaccinated.

Pictures show a line of people 70 years and older out the door of the vaccination center. Inside, video shows a slow-moving line as people waited for hours.

READ: Experts caution against deviating from 2-dose regimen for COVID-19 vaccines

While none of them wanted to go on camera out of fear of upsetting their loved ones, several people wrote to FOX 13 expressing outrage.

One woman wrote: “We were put through hell” and “I can’t believe that seniors are being treated this way.”

Another wrote: "There must be a better way to handle this. Figure it out.”

Some people told FOX 13 they left frustrated without getting a vaccine.

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“We certainly understand the frustration, and we apologize for the longer wait time on that one day,” Salt Lake County Department of Health spokesman Nicholas Rupp said.

Rupp tells FOX 13 the vaccine center ended the week with about 1,000 extra doses. They must be used immediately or thrown out so staff began inviting 1,000 seniors on the waitlist. Rupp said approximately 2,000 people scheduled appointments for Saturday.

“It was an important choice we made to get those vaccine doses used, get them in arms and make sure they weren’t wasted. But it did cause longer wait times,” Rupp said.

In Utah County, the opposite happened — 250 appointments were still open by Monday afternoon.