Utah governor signs executive order regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution

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FILE – In this Feb. 12, 2021, file photo, scripps health official draws from a vile of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to administering it at their new drive-thru vaccination site at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, Calif. Executives from the major COVID-19 vaccine producers are set Tuesday, Feb. 23, to answer questions from Congress about expanding the supply of shots needed to curb the pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

UTAH (ABC4) – Utah Governor Spencer Cox has issued a new executive order in regards to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The order, signed Tuesday, includes a section regarding vaccine eligibility criteria, which must now be based on the direction that the Utah Department of Health determines in consultation with the Governor’s Office.

That criteria must then be published on coronavirus.utah.gov.

Currently, healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, first responders, EMS personnel, law enforcement officers, dispatchers, corrections officers, K-12 teachers and staff, and Utahns 65 and older are eligible to get the vaccine.

Starting March 1, Utahns 16-years-old and older with any of the following medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are 16 or 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine, according to the Utah Department of Health.

  • Asplenia including splenectomy or a spleen dysfunction
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher (this is also called Class III or severe obesity)
  • Chronic heart disease (not hypertension) including chronic heart failure, ischaemic heart disease, and severe valve or congenital heart disease
  • Chronic liver disease including chronic hepatitis B or C, alcohol-related liver disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, or primary sclerosing cholangitis or hemochromatosis
  • Cancer diagnosed within the last 5 years that began in the blood, bone marrow, or cells in the immune system. This type of cancer is called hematologic cancer (such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma). 
  • Cancer diagnosed within the last 1 year that didn’t begin in the blood or bone marrow. This type of cancer is called non-hematologic cancer (excluding basal and squamous cell cancer diagnoses).
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood, bone marrow, or organ transplant; HIV; long-term use of corticosteroids; or other medicines that weaken the immune system
  • Neurologic conditions that impair respiratory function, including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson’s disease, progressive cerebellar disease, and quadriplegia or hemiplegia 
  • Receiving dialysis for severe kidney disease
  • Receiving immunosuppression therapy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Severe chronic respiratory disease (other than asthma) including severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fibrosing lung disease, bronchiectasis, or cystic fibrosis
  • Solid organ transplant recipient
  • Stage 4 or stage 5 chronic kidney disease
  • Stroke and dementia (Alzheimer’s, vascular, or frontotemporal)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes with an A1c of 9% or higher

Gov. Cox’s executive order, which you can read below, comes on the heels of a new Utah health order that gives an idea of when the state’s mask mandate could end.

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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that K-12 teachers and staff are eligible for the vaccine.

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