KSL INVESTIGATES

KSL Investigates Vaccines By The Numbers: When Will Enough Utahns Be Protected?

Jan 21, 2021, 10:26 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As of Jan. 20, one-half of one percent of Utah residents have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. At this rate, KSL Investigators found it will take several months for enough Utahns to be protected from the virus to make a difference.

Gov. Spencer Cox sat down with us to discuss hurdles slowing down the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which began in December with front-line health care workers.

Current State Of Utah’s Vaccination Efforts

“Our biggest problem right now isn’t the rate of vaccinations,” Cox said, “It’s the amount of vaccine we’re getting from the federal government.”

Vaccines administered in Utah. (KSL-TV)

Cox told us Utah is getting about 30,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines weekly. In a press conference Thursday, he said Utah’s health departments have used 94% of the vaccine stock that is more than seven days old.

As a new federal administration hits the gas pedal on pandemic control, Cox is optimistic that Utah will start seeing double the amount of available vaccines. “We know that vaccine production is going to ramp up,” he said.

The Biden Administration invoked the Defense Production Act on Thursday to help reach the goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in 100 days.

As of Jan. 20, Utah has seen 156,882 people get their first round of the COVID vaccine. According to 2019 U.S. Census numbers, that is roughly 7% of all Utahns age 18 and older. No FDA-approved vaccine on the market is currently available for children.

Only 9% of all who have received vaccines have gotten both doses. However, shots for citizens aged 70 and older just started in recent days.

Currently, the seven-day average for vaccination stands at 8,041 people per day. KSL Investigators estimate that by subtracting those who have already received the vaccination, herd immunity would be achieved in August 2021.

The Utah Department of Health told us “70% [vaccination of Utah’s population] is widely viewed as being a level that would achieve herd immunity,” but they would “love to get to 80%.”

Seventy percent of Utah’s 18 and older population would mean just under 1.6 million Utahns would need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to drastically reduce the spread.

What’s Next For Vaccinations

Several factors could speed up vaccinating Utahns, including two more vaccines targeted to come to market in February or March.

“Right now, we just have Moderna and Pfizer,” said Cox. “They’re producing as much as they can, but they’re working to ramp up production capacity. It’s not just for the United States, this is a worldwide issue so they’re delivering across the world.”

In a statement, a Pfizer spokesperson told KSL-TV:

“As of last Friday, Jan. 15, we shipped more than 15 million doses of our COVID-19 vaccine to destinations across the U.S. We continue to dispatch orders of our COVID-19 vaccine to locations specified by the U.S. government, and we are working around the clock to produce millions more doses each day. We have and are continuing to work closely with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) on our production, release and shipping schedules – to ensure Americans receive their first and second doses of the vaccine on time. We have provided OWS with a specific schedule and we foresee no issues in delivering on the commitments we have made.

“Our facility in Kalamazoo, MI, is the primary manufacturing site of our COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. We anticipate no interruptions in shipments at this facility, as we look to scale up our production of the vaccine to produce 2 billion doses worldwide by the end of 2021 (up from the previously communicated ~1.3 billion).

“We remain committed to partnering with the U.S. government to deliver our vaccine to the American people.”

Moderna told us:

“We haven’t been sharing weekly or monthly production estimates, but we have stated that we continue to be on track with our expectations of delivering 100 million doses of vaccine by the end of Q1, and 200 million doses by the end of Q2. Production and releases are not linear, and we have explained that we have been successfully scaling up our production yields over time.”

As more doses become available in Utah, Cox said the estimated date for reaching herd immunity is sooner than current numbers foretell.

“We believe we will have herd immunity by early summer, if not earlier,” he said. “We’re hoping to get 100,000 doses a week, and then those numbers expand almost exponentially.”

Taking Possession Of Unused Vaccines

Cox said there are multiple partners of the federal government who received vaccines specifically for vaccinating long term care facility residents and staff. In a press conference Thursday, he told reporters that these partners have used only 17% of vaccines that are more than seven days old.

“What we’re trying to do now is get some of that vaccine back so that we can give it to our local health departments,” said Cox, “because they’re most of our local health departments are running through their allotment of vaccine by Wednesday of the week,” Cox said.

Cox added he hoped to have possession of those unused vaccines by the end of this week to help ease the demand for the current vaccination group of age 70 and older.

“A vaccine in an arm is better than having it on a shelf,” he said.

Next Possible Vaccination Group

The governor told KSL the next group that will receive COVID-19 vaccines will likely be those aged 65 to 70 years old, and those with multiple comorbidities. Defining those co-morbidities for eligibility is yet to be determined.

“We’re trying to use the science to figure out who is most at risk and protect those first, and then work our way down that list,” he said.

Cox explained that defining those comorbidities will be vital because opening up vaccination to anyone with any of the known comorbidities of COVID-19 would mean an influx of roughly 700,000 people seeking vaccines.

At this point, it is unknown how long the COVID vaccine antibodies last in the body, though manufacturers are closely studying this through those who underwent the initial clinical trials for the drugs.


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Cybersecurity experts caution shoppers to take it slow while shopping online

For many of us, Christmastime is magical. For scammers, it’s especially magical. Here's what to beware of when shopping online.
6 days ago
Gephardt makes butter...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Can you save money by making your own butter?

Prices for groceries are up, but the price we pay for butter is way, way up – to the point it will impact your holiday baking budget.
7 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Packed holiday flights: How SLC Int’l stacks up against US’s largest airports in delays and cancelations

Travelers, brace yourselves: holiday flights will be packed.
7 days ago
Jennifer Steele holding her daughters GPS watch. (KSL-TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Safety feature or distraction? Debate over kid-tracking watches in the classroom

A mom says it’s about safety. Her school says it’s a distraction. Where is the line when it comes to smartwatches in the classroom? KSL’s Matt Gephardt investigates.
12 days ago
Scammers...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Received a package delivery text? Scammers are luring Utahns with fake tracking alerts

Utahns are getting targeted by scammers sending out fake delivery notices.
13 days ago
Utah Legislators talking about the bill (KSL-TV)...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL-TV

Utah bill would limit how and when police can see your old location data

Want to know if police have your location data? A Utah lawmaker wants them to tell you – and the state – if they got it from tech companies. A pending legislative proposal won early approval from lawmakers.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
KSL Investigates Vaccines By The Numbers: When Will Enough Utahns Be Protected?