SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — One year after the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered, data shows that almost two million Utahns are fully vaccinated.
On Dec. 8, 2020, a woman in the U.K. became the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Globally, more than 8.2 billion COVID vaccines have been administered and 4.2 million of those were in Utah. Utah has been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for 642 days.
Medical experts from the Utah Department of Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and the University of Utah Health spoke to ABC4 to reflect on vaccination progress over the course of the year.
“It was a different kind of life we are living right now,” said Dr. Tamara Sheffield, medical director of community health and prevention at Intermountain Healthcare.
Less than a week after the first vaccine was administered in the U.K., the first COVID-19 shot was given in Utah on Dec. 14, 2020.
“Honestly looking back at that day, I don’t remember sleeping the night before,” said University of Utah Health senior director of pharmacy Kavish Choudhary. “It’s just anxious and excitement.”
Choudhary oversaw the employee vaccination program and he remembers the celebrations of getting the vaccine, as does Dr. Sheffield.
“It’s staggering to think of the work and the effort that has gone into getting people protected, but the result has been so dramatic,” said Dr. Sheffield.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were present in Utah in December 2020. Healthcare workers were the first to be vaccinated, followed by Navajo Nation leaders at the end of the month.
March was another significant month in the COVID vaccine timeline, when the third manufactured COVID vaccine – Johnson & Johnson – arrived in Utah. It was also during this time that anyone aged 16 and older became eligible for the vaccine.
- On May 1, 2020, one million Utahns had officially become fully vaccinated.
- And at the end of October, everyone five and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
- As of December 6th, 1,839,828 Utahns have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Now, according to Dr. Leisha Nolen, Utah’s state epidemiologist, it’s time for people to get their booster shots.
“I think is everybody’s next step is the booster, for those of us who got our vaccine months ago,” said Dr. Nolen. “It is really a good idea to get the booster.”
Sheffield said it is likely the COVID-19 vaccine will become a part of the yearly vaccine regimen, just like the flu shot.
Dr. Nolen said she is on the lookout for any possible new variants that may arise in the state.