Gov. Cox announces all Utah adults are eligible for vaccine next week

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Governor Spencer Cox announced all Utah adults will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting March 24. (Screenshot of PBS broadcast)

Gov. Spencer Cox announced all Utah adults will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 24.

Cox previously announced a plan to open up vaccine eligibility for all adults on April 1.

In the state’s weekly COVID-19 news conference, Cox said people can start scheduling vaccines next week, but they might not be receiving the vaccines right away.

“There will not be vaccine available for everyone in the state next week. I want to be very clear about that,” he said. It may take several weeks to schedule and receive the vaccine. He encouraged people to be patient when calling and scheduling.

“There won’t be enough doses for everyone for a few weeks but we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

All vaccines will be available for Utahns 18 and older, and for those between age 16 and 18, the Pfizer vaccine will be available. Cox emphasized the importance of receiving the second dose of vaccination at the same place the first dose is received.

Cox said he is “very pleased” with the vaccination rollout in Utah so far but “we know we need to do better.”

The Utah government wants to keep demand above availability and “make sure there are no doses sitting on shelves,” which he said is why they eventually decided to move up the eligibility date for all adults.

There is also a focus on ensuring an equitable distribution of vaccines in rural areas as well as urban areas, he said. He hopes all Utah citizens will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

Cox said the 7-day rolling average is the lowest it has been since Sept. 13, which was the last time it was under 500 cases.

As the numbers of cases lower, Cox said he encourages people to continue to wear masks and be safe in gatherings until everyone gets vaccinated.

There are currently 1,080,039 doses administered with a weekly increase of over 143,000 doses.

“The best numbers of all, 81% of adults ages 70 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine,” he said. For ages 65-69, there is a 70% vaccination rate, and Utahns ages 50-64 are more than 40% vaccinated.

The transmission index also lowered for multiple counties. There are currently five counties in high transmission, 18 in moderate, and six in low. Today Carbon and Summit counties moved into moderate; Duchesne and San Juan are moving into low.

“We are really happy with where things are right now,” he said.

BYU encouraged students and faculty to get the vaccine on social media after Cox’s announcement.

“Consistent with the First Presidency Statement on Vaccinations, BYU urges all members of the campus community to safeguard themselves and others through immunization,” the school said on Instagram.

BYU is also providing a vaccination site located at the former Provo High School.

“As a reminder, campus health protocols remain in place—including wearing masks and usage of the Healthy Together app to access campus services—even for students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated,” the Instagram post says.

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