SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On March 4, Utah Governor Spencer Cox expanded the state’s COVID-19 vaccine eligiblity to more residents.

In late February, the Utah Department of Health renewed a statewide public health order that addressed when the mask mandate could end.

According to the order, which you can see here, masks will no longer be required in Utah counties designated as having a low transmission level eight weeks after UDOH announces the state has been allocated 1,633,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Thursday, March 4, UDOH reports 978,570 vaccines have been delivered to Utah. Nearly 508,000 people in Utah have received at least one dose while 277,717 people have been fully vaccinated.

Are you eligible to get one of those vaccines?

Under Gov. Cox’s March 4 update, below are the eligibility requirements. Please note, Utahns 50-years-old and older and those who are 16-years-old and older who have diabetes (Type 1 or 2), a BMI of 30 or higher, or chronic kidney disease cannot register for a vaccine until Monday, March 8.

The following groups of people can get the COVID-19 vaccine right now, according to UDOH:

  • Healthcare workers who have contact with patients (like dentists, physical or occupational therapists, front office staff in a clinic, medical aesthetics, home healthcare workers, etc.)
  • Long-term care facility staff and residents
  • First responders like EMS personnel, law enforcement officers, dispatchers, and corrections officers
  • K-12 school teacher or staff
  • Utahns 65 years and older (Utahns 50 years and older effect 3/8/2021)

People 16-years-old and older with the following medical conditions are eligible for the vaccine. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for those who are 16 or 17 years old.

  • Asplenia including splenectomy or a spleen dysfunction
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher (this is also called Class III or severe obesity)
    Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher – effective 3/8
  • Chronic heart disease (not hypertension) including chronic heart failure, ischaemic heart disease, and severe valve or congenital heart disease
  • Stage 4 or stage 5 chronic kidney disease
    Chronic kidney disease – effective 3/8
  • 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).
  • Uncontrolled diabetes with an A1c of 9% or higher
    Diabetes (Type I or Type II) – effective 3/8
  • 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
  • Stroke and dementia (Alzheimer’s, vascular, or frontotemporal)

You do not need a doctor’s note to schedule your vaccine appointment. Health officials say that if you do not meet these criteria, you need to wait until those wat highest risk have been vaccinated.

UDOH adds that you do not need to get on a waiting list for the vaccine. When it becomes available, they expect to have it available at many locations throughout the community. To find those locations, click here.

Who is administering the vaccine?

In addition to local health departments across the state, numerous healthcare providers and pharmacies are providing vaccinations. If you’re eligible, here’s where you can register for an appointment. Click on each name for more details.

Healthcare providers

Local pharmacies

For continuing coverage on Utah’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, and the state’s fight against the pandemic, stick with ABC4 on-air and online.

ABC4 has answered numerous questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a look at a few:

How long should I wait to get the vaccine after having the virus?

According to Jenny Johnson, Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Health, people who have had COVID-19 can safely be vaccinated.

The only “rule” about being vaccinated after being infected with the virus, she says, is that people must have completed the quarantine period and be symptom-free.

“There is no reason why someone should not get the vaccine after being infected,” Johnson says.

Can I donate blood after receiving the vaccine?

You can, but the American Red Cross says it is important to note which type of vaccine you got.

What should and shouldn’t I do after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Do you continue to social distance and wear a mask? And when does immunity set in?

The Utah Department of Health provided ABC4 some guidelines.

I missed my second COVID-19 shot – now what?

The appointment is scheduled, and you missed getting it! What do you do now? Will you have to take two more shots? Probably not. Here’s what the Utah Department of Health says:

“You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.”

When can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

While the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for those 16 and 17-years-old, studies continue on the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on children ages 12 and older.

Do the vaccines have microchips in them?

No, the vaccines do not have a microchip in them. ABC4 spoke with a pair of experts who explain where the theory came from.

Can I take painkillers before or after receiving the vaccine?

It’s best to avoid them, unless you routinely take them for a medical condition, officials say. Although the evidence is limited, some painkillers might interfere with the very thing the vaccine is trying to do: generate a strong immune system response. Health officials explain why.

For continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine, click here.