CORONAVIRUS

Utah Teachers Eligible To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Next Week

Jan 8, 2021, 2:50 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm

FILE (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)...

FILE (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s K-12 teachers and staff will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday under a new executive order signed by Gov. Spencer Cox.

Utahns age 70 and older will be eligible beginning Jan. 18 under the order, which was signed Friday.

Cox said the state’s goal is to vaccinate all health care providers, long-term care facility staff and residents; first responders, public and tribal health frontline workers; K-12 teachers and school staff and adults older than 70 by the end of February. That group includes approximately 412,000 Utahns.

“We know there is tremendous demand among teachers for the vaccine, and we are thrilled to be able to accelerate the timeline for immunizing teachers,” said Cox. “There’s no part of our society that COVID-19 has impacted more significantly than education. Getting the vaccine out to teachers and school staff will provide stability in our schools and improve the educational experience of our students.”

School districts are coordinating with their local health departments on plans to vaccinate their teachers and staff. Districts will communicate directly with their employees on how, when and where they can get vaccinated.

Older adults or their caretakers should contact their local health department on scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated.

Cox added those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days should not get vaccinated.

Utah’s Unified Command group recommended accelerating the vaccination timeline for these groups based on “current vaccine administration progress, anticipated supply over the next several weeks, the important role schools play in society, and the severity of disease older adults experience.”

Teachers were originally expected to be vaccinated later in January with older adults eligible in mid-February.

“Providing vaccines for these additional groups is exciting, but it is important to manage expectations,” said Rich Saunders, Utah Department of Health executive director. “We are still receiving a limited number of doses each week, and demand is likely to outpace supply initially. Not everyone will be able to schedule an appointment next week, but we ask them to be patient and keep trying. We will have enough doses to eventually vaccinate everyone in these groups.”

Over 77,000 vaccines had been administered in Utah as of Friday.

More details about the COVID-19 vaccine, and Utah’s distribution plan, can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine.

Earlier in the day, state health officials reported 22 more Utahns have died from COVID-19 and 3,793 more have tested positive for the virus.

Utah’s ICUs were 89.6% full Friday, and the 16 referral center ICUs better equipped to treat COVID-19 patients were 92.2% full.

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Utah Teachers Eligible To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Next Week