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Utah Physicians Release Plan On Vaccine Rollout For Health Care Workers

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Physicians from Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health on Thursday released plans on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Utah.

It will first go to frontline health care workers. The vaccine will then be distributed in a wave as more becomes available.

The vaccine will be in limited supply to start. The first to receive it will be those who work in high-risk environments in the five hospitals in the state that provide care to the highest number of COVID-19 patients. Those facilities include Dixie Regional Medical Center, Intermountain Medical Center, LDS Hospital, University of Utah Hospital and Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Those workers include nurses, doctors, technicians, bedside personnel, those providing risky procedures, as well as housekeepers, who have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic.

Doctors said the Pfizer mRNA vaccine will be the first to arrive in Utah, and it is 95% effective. It and the vaccine created by Moderna are as safe as most vaccines.

Some side effects of the Pfizer vaccine include mild symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, and fever. There have been no serious safety signals in the 18- to 80-year-old subjects who were part of the trial, doctors said.

“What we don’t know about the vaccine yet is whether there will be side effects out of 1½ million people,” said Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious disease at U of U Health. ” … But the benefits will outweigh the risk of the vaccine.”

The Pfizer mRNA vaccine is incredibly sensitive, and it must be stored in at -80 degrees. Both the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare have a process for monitoring inventory appropriately, and they both have specific health care workers who will ensure it’s transferred safely and effectively.

There isn’t a set date of arrival yet, but health care officials are prepared to begin distributing it when it when it does.

Health care workers in the remaining hospitals as well as first responders will receive the vaccine by late December and January.

Between February and March, those in long-term care facilities as well as essential workers will get the vaccine, according to UDOH. Then from March – July, the vaccine will be distributed to the rest of the state, beginning with Tribal reservation communities, followed by Utahns age 65 and older.

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