CORONAVIRUS

Everyone 18+ eligible for booster shots in Utah 

Nov 18, 2021, 5:00 PM | Updated: 9:55 pm

Salt Lake City – Every adult Utahn can now roll up their sleeve for a COVID-19 booster vaccine, and healthcare professionals recommend it as soon as possible. Governor Spencer Cox made that announcement Thursday and has already received his booster.  

Vaccine providers statewide should be able to begin administering the boosters Friday. 

Right now, all Utah communities are seeing high transmission rates of COVID-19 and that can lead to breakthrough cases.  

If you’re fully vaccinated, health professionals recommend you get your booster. If you’re not, it’s time to plan that first shot. 

“If you want to avoid the disease, you should get boosted,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health. 

Any Utahn 18 and older who received a second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna more than six months ago is eligible. Adults who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine more than two months ago are also eligible for their booster. 

“It’s so confusing that no one knows if they qualify,” the governor said in his monthly PBS address. “So, we just want to make it very simple, especially as we’re heading into the holiday season.” 

Under CDC guidelines, and those here in Utah, boosters have only been available to adults who live or work in high-risk settings. Unfortunately, the state epidemiologist said, nearly all of us are at high risk for catching the virus. 

“The best way to get it under control and protect our population is to get everyone boosted because truly right now, in Utah, most people are at high risk just because we have so much transmission,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, UDOH state epidemiologist. 

So far, 280,000 people have received booster doses since they were approved in August, about 60% of those eligible. The virus is still spreading, unvaccinated patients crowd our hospitals and even the fully vaccinated are at risk of mild or moderate disease if they get a breakthrough case. 

“The spread that we’re seeing right now says that herd immunity is not here. We need more,” Nolen said. 

Studies show immunity wanes over six to eight months but, the booster brings protection back to 95%. 

“Even in the first few days, your body is being reminded of what it is meant to fight off, and it should really have an effect very fast,” The state epidemiologist said. 

“We need everyone possible to get vaccinated who hasn’t yet in order to get through this crisis,” Hofmann said. “It’s impacting not just their own health but the health of all of our citizens who did the right thing and went ahead and got vaccinated already.” 

To plan your vaccination or your booster go to vaccinate.utah.gov to make an appointment. 

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Everyone 18+ eligible for booster shots in Utah