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Utah leaders working to increase vaccine access

Posted at 6:23 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 20:23:23-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson said in a news conference that Utah has plans to step up in terms of making the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible.

"We have a little bit of work to do… in fact we have a lot of work to do here but we have also done a lot of work," Henderson said.

Read - Utah could achieve COVID-19 herd immunity by the end of summer

About 37% of Asian American adults, 28.8% of Hispanic adults and 19.8% African American adults have received their first shot, in comparison to 47% of white adults who have received a first dose of the vaccine.

"Access is huge right? Like we are talking about populations where maybe they are working multiple jobs a day," said Janida Emerson, CEO of The Fourth Street Clinic. "For the homeless population, they have so many competing priorities."

Read - Lawmakers question Utah's K-12 mask mandate

As the supply of vaccines is starting to outnumber demand of people who want a shot, Utah has plans to move away from mass vaccination sites and shift focus to individual health care providers.

"I think that resonates with low income and minority populations as well who are being served predominantly in community health centers and they feel safe there," Emerson said. "They trust those providers."

State leaders also have plans to continue to target rural frontier communities, long term care facilities and home bound individuals to make sure they have the opportunity to be vaccinated.