SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 22, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Spencer Cox held a weekly COVID-19 briefing Thursday.
“We reported yesterday that over 800,000 Utahns are now fully immunized against COVID-19, that’s more than a quarter of all Utahns,” Cox said. “Of those eligible, adults, we are now above 50% with at least the first shot. I’m really excited to report that 86% of people 65 and older have received the first dose and 64% of those 65 and older are fully vaccinated. If you go to 70 and older that number is 77% that are fully vaccinated.”
He added that somewhere in the state of Utah today someone will likely receive the two millionth dose of the vaccine.
“I hope that what we are conveying here is that so many of you are being vaccinated, and that the vaccines are safe and that the vaccines are effective,” Cox said. “For those of you who have not been vaccinated, we know that there are some people who just will refuse to get vaccinated, there’s another group that is hesitant and trying to decide whether or not to get vaccinated.
“There’s also a third group we haven’t talked much about that are the vaccine casual, they want to get vaccinated but they’re kind of waiting to make sure that other people have been able to get their vaccines first.”
For this group, Cox said there are now ample doses available.
“We are starting to cross that threshold where demand has outweighed supply, now supply is starting to outweigh demand a little bit and so we have lots of demand in almost all of our counties, Salt Lake County is still booked but we’re moving doses here so that we can deal with that demand here,” Cox said. “Now is the time, there are lots of appointments available.”
Cox said Utah is now fourth in the nation for vaccines in arms.
Carbon and Sevier counties have now moved from the moderate to low transmission index level, meaning there are 13 counties now in low transmission index level. Washington County has gone from low to moderate transmission, meaning 15 counties are now in the moderate transmission index level, while Grand County has gone from moderate to high transmission; they are the only county in that category.
Cox said the state is intending now to focus more on regional, local, community-oriented vaccine sites.
Lt. Gov. Deirdre Henderson then spoke about making access to the vaccine easier.
“Since March, we have really put a lot of effort into making sure our multi-cultural communities have access to the vaccine, we’ve talked a lot about access, just because a person is eligible and a vaccine is available does not mean that a person has access,” she said. “So we have really been trying to focus on this access question, and breaking down whatever barriers are in the way in preventing people a getting a dose of vaccine administered to them, and there are a lot of different barriers.”
Henderson said 37% of Asian adults in Utah have received at least one dose of the vaccine. A total of 28.8% of Hispanic adults have received at least one dose, and 19.8% of Black adults have received at least one dose. She added that 47% of Caucasian adults have received at least one dose.
“We want to make sure that our doses administered really truly do reflect the population of the state,” she said.
Henderson said the state is also focusing on getting the vaccine made available to rural and frontier communities, long-term care facilities and homebound individuals, as well as those who are 16 and 17 years old. Parents have to give permission for students to receive the vaccine, she said.
Henderson said officials will also work with colleges and universities to make vaccines available to students, for example with mobile clinics.
She said Lyft can also provide round-trip rides to vaccine appointments at no cost; residents can call 211 or visit 211utah.org to schedule a ride.
For the full news conference see above.