SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) — Since the pandemic started, the federal government has been working to make COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as possible.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have now been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, for emergency use in the United States. COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed throughout the United States but like with anything new, there have been a few roadblocks.
Several states say they have been told to expect fewer doses of the vaccine than originally expected, with other states reporting other technical issues like tampering.
In Wisconsin, Federal officials are investigating after a person deliberately contaminated more than 500 doses of the vaccine at a Wisconsin medical center by intentionally leaving 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine out of a pharmacy refrigerator.
California health officials say they aren’t strangers to the distribution hiccups either. Governor Gavin Newsom saying the vaccine rollout in California is setting a pace that’s “not good enough.” Health officials say so far, only about 1% of California’s 40 million residents have been vaccinated.
With vaccine administration concerns going on around the country, it’s only natural to wonder how vaccine distribution is holding up in Utah.
On Wednesday, clinicians at Intermountain Healthcare provided an update on Utah’s COVID-19 Vaccine distribution.
Dr. Tamara Sheffield, Medical Director of Community Health and Prevention at Intermountain Healthcare says vaccine distribution and rollout efforts occurring within Intermountain hospitals and clinics are moving as quickly as possible.
Dr. Sheffield says Utah’s first allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine was reduced by the CDC. Receiving fewer vaccines than originally planned for has postponed Utah’s timeline of getting and distributing vaccines.
She says the vaccinations Utah has received move quickly from freezers to the arms of those at the highest risk of infection so the state can get more.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Dr. Sheffield shares. Encouraging the state to move as quickly as possible so more vaccinations can be ordered and administered to Utahns.
Watch Intermountain COVID-19 vaccine update below:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, the federal government oversees a centralized system to order, distribute, and track all COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines are ordered through the CDC.
There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come.
The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available, the CDC shared. Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
The CDC says easy access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical. Because there are currently only two approved vaccines, not everyone who would like liked to take the vaccine has been able to yet.
The CDC has created a map showing the total number of people who have received the 1st dose of one of the two COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Utah Department of Health says the timeline for when different groups of Utahns will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine may change. Timing is dependent on how much vaccine the state receives and when the vaccine arrives in Utah.
State health officials say they currently anticipate that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all Utahns sometime between March and July 2021.