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Utah health care workers receiving second COVID-19 vaccine dose this week

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 23:46:02-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Less than a month after the first vaccination doses made their way into Utah, some frontline health care workers will be receiving their second and final dose, meaning expected full immunization for COVID-19.

“That’s an exciting spot to be in,” said Tom Hudachko with the Utah Department of Health.

In the month of January, UDOH expects to have nearly 33,000 first doses of the vaccine being shipped into the state by the federal government each week.

“I do believe we’ll be on schedule for our next phase. I think we’ve started to work through our non-hospital health care workers quicker than some were expecting," Hudachko added.

READ: Cox says COVID-19 vaccine distribution needs to speed up in Utah

While some vaccine facilities were not maxing-out their vaccine capacity this past week, Hudachko says that some health departments reported maximum capacity for time slots recently and some hospital systems are awaiting their next resupply.

“You know, we’re making progress,” said Hudachko, referencing some vaccination success stories in various counties across the state. “It certainly rolled out slower than we would have liked and we would have thought, and I don’t think anyone would argue that point, but we feel like we really picked up steam in the middle of last week.”

The Central Utah Health Department told FOX 13 that nearly all non-hospital health care workers in Wayne County have been given their first vaccine dose. CUHD was given roughly 1,000 vaccines and expects to have all of those "first doses" given to phase-eligible recipients across six counties by the end of this week.

READ: FDA says it’s ‘premature’ to consider dropping second COVID-19 vaccine dose

Hudachko says there is a discrepancy on the UDOH website dashboard with the way vaccine administrations are reported due to the nature of how the vaccines move across the state and have other parts of the process before they are reported as administered.

“There’s a significant lag time from when a dose shipped to when it actually gets administered to when it actually gets reported that can be up to a week,” said Hudachko. “We feel like from what we’ve heard from our vaccine partners and providers across the state is we’re probably vaccinating faster than what the data are showing us right now.”

According to UDOH, the vaccination process is running smoothly right now across the state, and they’ve received no reports of wasted vaccines. UDOH confirmed to FOX 13 that they recommend to health care providers to a have list of eligible vaccine candidates (first starting within the vaccine phase, then moving to the next phase, and so forth) in order to have some recipients on standby in case there is a remaining vaccine in a vial.

“We would much rather see those remaining two doses in a vial get into somebody’s arm versus being tossed in a garbage can,” said Hudachko about using as much of the vaccine as possible. “We start to receive new shipments on Monday, and we want to be to a point where on Sunday we’ve run out of vaccine.”