Utah vaccination rates rise modestly this summer

Aug 24, 2021, 6:05 PM | Updated: 8:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — While healthcare professionals continue to urge the unvaccinated to get their COVID-19 shot, Utah has seen a modest uptick in vaccinations during the past month. 

With full FDA approval now for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, healthcare professionals nationwide hope to see a surge in vaccinations. 

It’s still too early to tell what difference that will make, but more Utahns have been getting their shot for another reason.

Many people who have been hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine have indicated that full FDA approval was one of the reasons.

“I would like to think that’s the case. I know a lot of people said that they were waiting for that approval,” said Michael Bronson, who oversees community COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics for University of Utah Health. “We’re kind of waiting for that to happen, and our vaccine team is mobilized and looking every week at ways to respond.”

People are getting vaccinated at more than 1,300 different locations across Utah, but we didn’t find anybody Tuesday who said they had been waiting on FDA approval.

The Beehive State, however, has seen a modest uptick in vaccinations over the last six weeks. Since early July, a rise in average daily vaccinations from 4,500 to 7,500.

“For us, it (the vaccination campaign) kind of bottomed out in late June, early July,” Bronson said. “Then, it started to tick up again, so for us, we’ve seen about a 50 percent increase in the number of vaccines that we’re giving every day.”

That rise happened after the Delta variant emerged in Utah, with a spike in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“The staff are talking to patients and reporting back what they’re hearing,” he said.

It sounds like the Delta variant was a top reason for getting vaccinated.

“I believe there are more people who are concerned about that and may be thinking, now is the time for me to go get it,” he said.

He said one on one conversations with healthcare providers seem to be the most productive ways to reduce vaccine hesitancy among patients. 

Many patients are now getting their COVID-19 vaccines while they are in for other routine care.
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Utah vaccination rates rise modestly this summer