SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The state of Utah has announced two new categories for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility starting Mar. 1: residents 65 and older and people who have, or claim they have, certain underlying medical conditions.
On Thursday, Governor Spencer Cox announced a list of medical conditions that would make someone eligible for the shot next month, including some cancers, kidney or heart disease, diabetes, and dementia among others.
So what’s to keep a healthy person from lying about their medical history in order to get the vaccine? Well, as of now, nothing.
“We want to make sure that the vaccine administration is still very efficient,” Utah State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said. “So we’re going to be relying on people on their own word, for whether or not they fall into one of those severe, high-risk categories.”
Jaime Montuoro is the Pharmacy Director for Smith’s, which will begin receiving and distributing the vaccine at their locations next week. She’s was involved in the H1N1 immunization effort and said they had to trust people were being honest about their medical histories.
“Honestly, the honor system is one way, or having people attest to the fact that they have certain medical conditions is how I’ve seen it done before so I would expect something similar,” Montuoro told ABC4 News Friday. “If you’re a patient at our pharmacy, we see your medications and so we can definitely see who is eligible from the medications that people take.”
With no verification process currently in place, pharmacists and local health department officials will have to rely on the honesty and integrity of each vaccination seeker…hoping that their arm is the only thing they have up their sleeve.
“It’s very important that if you don’t fall into one of those high-risk categories that you don’t seek a vaccine,” Dr. Dunn said. “That you save those doses for individuals who are at the highest risk.”
Additional vaccine registration information will be sent out in the coming weeks. Officials ask that you don’t call your local health department to ask about eligibility or appointments just yet.
For the latest vaccine information, go to: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine
|Vaccine | coronavirusThe COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Utah has been committed to providing Utahns with accurate, transparent, and up-to-date health information and recommendations so individuals can make informed decisions to protect their families, businesses, and our communities.coronavirus.utah.gov|