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Utahns Age 65+ Now Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccines

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Spencer Cox announced all Utahns age 65 and older are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, citing great progress in the vaccination campaign.

Utahns age 65 to 69 were originally scheduled to begin vaccinations on March 1. But, based on expectations of growing vaccine supply and an acceleration in vaccinations, Cox moved them up.

“We are methodically, via vaccination, targeting those who are most at risk which will cut down on hospitalizations and deaths and allow us to get back to normal more quickly,” he said.

In his monthly press briefing on PBS Utah Thursday, Cox said the state has made “incredible progress” vaccinating Utahns age 70 and older.

”We’re getting more doses every week,” he said. “In March we’re going to keep getting significant increases, we’ve been told by the Biden administration, especially if Johnson & Johnson comes online.”

The state has been administering more than 100,000 doses during the past week and a total of more than 560,000 doses since mid-December. Nearly 180,000 Utahns have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data.

“We are far ahead of where people thought we would be, far ahead of the projections that were given in December and even into January,” Cox said.

He was optimistic about the fact that 62% of those age 70 and older have received at least their first dose and 91% of Utah’s residents in long-term care facilities have been vaccinated.

That’s significant because 40% of COVID-related deaths in Utah have come from long-term care facilities.

Statewide some counties still have more doses than others and some still have more residents age 70 and older to vaccinate.

Cox said people will need to be patient about scheduling their appointment.

“If you can’t find an appointment immediately, keep trying, and eventually you will get your turn,” he said.

People can go to coronavirus.utah.gov to schedule a vaccine appointment. Utahns with certain underlying medical conditions will become eligible to receive the vaccine beginning March 1.

Despite conflicting reports nationally about vaccine availability, Cox is confident all Utahns can be vaccinated this spring unless something in the production cycle or delivery cycle goes wrong.

“We really do anticipate that into April and May that every adult who wants a vaccine should be eligible for a vaccine,” he said.

Cox said his estimate is based upon data received this week in a meeting with the Biden administration.

“From all of the information we are receiving, we’re very confident in that May timeline,” Cox said.

Cox added even though numbers are going down and vaccinations are going up, residents shouldn’t let up on mask wearing — especially in light of some of the variants that are being spread.

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