SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Governor Spencer Cox announced Friday that Utah’s general public will begin receiving Covid-19 vaccines next week, starting with teachers and residents of long-term care facilities with Utahns over 70 soon to follow.

Five days into his term, Governor Cox sounded frustrated in the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This virus does not sleep. This virus does not take weekends off and neither should we,” he said during a news conference from the State Capitol. “It is unacceptable to have vaccines sitting on the shelf.”

That’s why he issued an Executive Order declaring the start of shots for Utah senior citizens.

“On January 18th, every Utahn age 70 or older will be eligible to receive the vaccine,” Gov. Cox said. “This is a very large population, about 240,000 Utahns, and we recognize that it will take several weeks to get all of them vaccinated.”

The effort begins Monday with vaccinations for residents of Utah’s 353 long-term care facilities, an effort the Governor wants completed by January 23rd. 

The Executive Order also states an agency to use all of its allocated vaccines within one week and requires daily reporting of vaccinations administered. Utah’s 13 local health districts will manage the public distribution with online signups starting next week.

“Every local health department, again, based on your geography, that’s where you will go to sign up to get the vaccine,” Gov. Cox said.

The Governor sees this as the beginning of the end of the pandemic but asks Utahns to remain vigilant with masks and social distancing.

“Knowing now that Grandma and Grandpa, anyone over the age of 70, over the next few weeks will be able to get their vaccine, let’s keep them alive during this time,” he said. “We can do this. Just a few more months and we will be there and my hope is that sense of optimism knowing that the end is in sight will encourage all of us to make the sacrifices necessary sacrifices over the next few days.”

Governor Cox expects all the inoculations for teachers and people 70 and over to be completed by the end of February. Then those 65 and older are the next group up.

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