COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed in Utah starting Tuesday

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Officials with Intermountain Healthcare say the COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to frontline workers at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Tuesday.

Doctors at the University of Utah Health say they hope to join Intermountain issuing vaccines once they receive them from Pfizer and Operation Warp Speed.

It is a significant step in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it is the beginning of the end,” says Utah Department of Health Director of Communications Tom Hudachko.

According to Hudachko, the state will receive a little more than 23,000 Pfizer vaccines this week.

“Then, as we move on through the month of December, we anticipate that number to go up to about 150,000 doses, and then each week moving forward, we would get an allocation,” he says.

That allocation, he says, is based on the percent of the adult population and the number of COVID-19 vaccines available.

Each week the CDC will figure that out.

Government officials hope Moderna will be added to the equation soon.

“It is a really hopeful day, but it’s not a day that is really going to change things overnight for us,” says Hudachko.

After the Pfizer vaccine thaws, doctors say each vile will provide five shots for individuals to fight the potentially deadly virus.

Intermountain Healthcare officials tell ABC4 that they will fill each syringe before issuing them to patients.

Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. Eddie Stenehjem says, “Even if you are vaccinated, you still may be able to transmit the virus to those that are at high risk for negative outcomes if infected.”

“I think people just need to set that expectation for themselves that social distancing, staying home when you’re sick, wearing masks, those behaviors are going to continue to be very important for the next many months,” says Hudachko.

The next challenge for medical professionals is getting Utahns to believe in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Hudachko adds, “Find somebody that they trust in the healthcare world and reach out to that individual and have a conversation with them about what their thoughts are on the vaccine.”

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