Hundreds Of Salt Lake County Vaccine Appointments Remained Open
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hundreds of vaccination appointments have been left open in Salt Lake County after a glitch over the weekend that allowed thousands of ineligible patients to sign up.
Officials weren’t sure why so many appointments were left open Monday, and through the end of the week.
The county didn’t have an answer about what has been happening – just a theory.
After the error in the online scheduling system was discovered, 7,200 appointments were canceled for people who believed they were eligible in the latest round of vaccinations, but weren’t.
Officials with the Salt Lake County Health Department made it clear that there were no wasted doses, but the hundreds of open appointments represented a lot of people who could be getting inoculated against the coronavirus.
“When we initially started, we were the only ones in Salt Lake County that provided that service,” said Jill Miller with the health department.
Miller believed other providers have helped decrease the demand for vaccine appointments at county locations.
On Tuesday alone, there were more than 700 available appointments. Hundreds were available throughout the week, with more than 1,300 appointments open on Saturday.
Miller said the open appointments were a result of the scheduling problem.
“We also have expanded our appointment availability,” she said. “Last week we provided more vaccines than we have in the previous week.”
Two weeks ago, Gov. Spencer Cox said, “We always want demand to outpace the supply. That’s how we make sure that every vaccine is being used, and that we always have vaccines in arms instead of on shelves.”
The Governor’s Office told KSL TV on Tuesday that he was are of the issue. His office indicated there may a change announced Thursday regarding a plan to expand age eligibility.
Miller said her office will be ready when the state is.
“The state told us that we should anticipate a ramp-up in the amount of vaccine we are getting in the month of March,” she said.
The Salt Lake County Health Department administered 30,000 vaccines in six days during the last week of February.
People age 65 and older or 16-65 years old with underlying health conditions are currently available to make an appointment.
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How do I prevent it?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
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