SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday gave his first monthly news conference, and focused mostly on efforts to improve the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Utah.
His administration’s goal is to save lives and reduce hospitalizations, Cox said, and to leave no doses on shelves longer than seven days.
Cox said officials including Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson had been traveling to each of Utah’s 13 health departments, with only a few left to go, and had been asking what would make distribution more effective. One department needed clerical help to enter data on vaccines administered, Cox said. Another needed increased server capacity, and a third needed more personnel to administer the vaccines. The state is using its resources to provide what is needed in each case, he said.
Cox also said that due to human nature, some people won’t show up two weeks later for their second doses. The state’s new policy is that those second doses will become first doses, and the people who missed their scheduled times can make new appointments. Second doses administered within a few weeks of the recommended two week period will still be effective, Cox said.
“We won’t have a growing glut of second doses,” he said. “They will be repurposed as first doses.”
Cox said he learned Thursday morning that the federal government will be reimbursing National Guard troops for their COVID-19 related work at a rate of 100 percent, not the 75 percent that was the previous rate. That will help get workers where they are needed, he said.
Cox said the future is encouraging, and two more additional COVID-19 vaccines may be approved within the next few weeks.
To hear Cox’s full news conference, click the player above. The video message begins at about 6:40 in.
Cox also noted he will deliver a state of the state address tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m., and it will be shorter than usual to minimize the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission to the people in the room.