Salt Lake County Takes Vaccines Into Neighborhoods
Apr 26, 2021, 5:10 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm
SANDY, Utah – More than a quarter of all Salt Lake County residents have been fully vaccinated since the first mega vaccination site opened four months ago. Because of that, the county moved into a new phase: taking vaccines into neighborhoods to get more people vaccinated.
Several weeks ago, when Salt Lake County opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to all residents 16 and older, the appointments filled up quickly.
There were many appointments available Monday and the county focused on getting that to the people who need it.
“I’m just so proud of the work that’s been done,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson as she visited the mega site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy.
She took time to thank some of the 2,000 volunteers who have helped with the effort.
“It’s been a great experience for our volunteers,” she said. “But they’ve given back thousands of people hours to us to make this operation effective.”
— Salt Lake County (@SLCoGov) April 26, 2021
Health officials said as of Monday, 28% of the Salt Lake County population was considered fully vaccinated, while 41% had received at least one dose.
The county health department has also put on 200 outreach clinics.
“To bring the vaccine directly to people in need, people who may have a hard time with the application system and a harder time getting to mega-sites like this,” Wilson said.
In this next phase of vaccine distribution, she said the county will focus on that outreach and letting people know the vaccine is available now.
“We have doses today available,” she said. “We have appointments available, so we’re asking people today, if you’ve been waiting, today is your day. I think we have 2,400 appointments as of this morning, and we can get you in fairly quickly.”
Until now, vaccine supply was limited.
“We haven’t really had enough doses, so we’re shifting as we see more and more doses to that targeted approach as we get to our goal of 80%” the mayor said.
That will enable the county to achieve herd immunity.
They don’t yet know whether there was a drop in demand because appointments have been filling up, until now.
“I think our job now is to not say, ‘come to us for a vaccine,’ but it’s, ‘come to a location that’s closer to you and we will meet the demand there,’” said Jill Miller, co-director of the county’s vaccine response.
Miller said there was still demand for the vaccine within specific communities, including the Hispanic community which has seen half that of the rest of the population.
“My hope is that the vaccine hesitancy in this community is minimal. We frankly don’t know yet,” said Wilson.
For anyone that waited until it wasn’t so busy to get the vaccine, Wilson said now is the time. More information can be found at the state’s vaccine website.
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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 are 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.