SALT LAKE CITY — About 15 percent of Utahns have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to current data from the state health department.
“Right now, we are administering about 97 percent of all of our first doses within seven days of receiving them,” Utah Dept. Health Dir. Communications Tom Hudachko said.
More doses of the vaccines are heading to Utah, Hudachko said, which will allow for more people to get the vaccine. State officials hope all Utahns who want to get vaccinated will be able to by the end of April.
“All the indications from the federal government have been that sometime around the second week of March, so the week after next, we are really going to start seeing an increase in the number of Pzfiser and Moderna doses that we receive. And also, J&J should really have its production ramped up by the third week of March,” he said.
While there are now three approved COVID-19 vaccines, people should not wait or seek out one particular vaccine, Dr. Hannah Imlay said. She is an Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease with the University of Utah.
“If we could get everybody vaccinated as fast as possible, that decreases the chance that we will have resistant virus or things like that that are then causing a problem even among vaccinated people,” she said.
It is important people who wish to be vaccinated sign up as soon as they are eligible, Dr. Tamara Sheffield with Intermountain Healthcare said. Dr. Sheffield is the Medical Director for Community Health and Prevention.
“The CDC’s watching to make sure that when they give us the vaccine, we use it immediately. So, if people delay and say maybe I will get it a little later, it may not be there later for them because the CDC will say New York City, they are getting it done, it’s going there,” she said.
For things to get back to ‘normal’ people need to continue to practice social distancing, good hygiene and wearing a mask, Dr. Imlay said. The hope is to get 70 to 90 percent of the population vaccinated against the virus, Dr. Imlay said.
“Herd immunity is basically the idea that there are enough people in the community that can’t get COVID, by a number of mechanisms, that COVID will stop spreading in the community.”two ways for immunity-having had COVID or vaccine,” she said.