LOGAN — In August, the immunocompromised became eligible to receive a third dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Now the question is: Are Utahn’s getting the third dose? In three northern Utah counties the progress is slow, but steady.
“Vaccines save lives. They really do,” Bear River Health Department Spokesperson Estee Hunt tells ABC4. “they don’t end lives, they save lives.”
The Bear River Health Department covers Box Elder County, Cache County and Rich County. To date, the health department has administered more than 170,000 doses of the three different COVID-19 vaccines across those three counties. Hunt says that comes out to “about 54.4 percent of 12 plus, of 12-year-olds and older who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Some of those who fall under the fully vaccinated category are those who are immunocompromised and eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. “Right now, in our health district we only see about 103 people that have had their third dose,” adds Hunt.
While only the immunocompromised are eligible for the third dose, across Utah it’s all based on the honor system. Those who are immunocompromised do not have to prove it in order to get a third dose. Hunts says, “I can’t tell you exactly these are only immunocompromised. Our hope is that is the case. Right?”
A third dose is not yet recommended for the general public. However, the booster shot is expected to get approval soon.
For those who do qualify for a third dose, Hunt emphasizes the importance of considering getting it. She says, “We recommend that they have spoken with their doctor, and I would assume those that are immunocompromised have spoken with their doctor, and their physician has recommended that they get their third dose.”
There are 158 new cases in the health district. Cases are climbing and officials are urging all who can to get vaccinated. “Whether you need your third dose because you are immunocompromised, or whether you need to get your second dose because you haven’t received your second dose yet, completing the series is very important in your overall health and safety from COVID-19,” states Hunt. She also says, “We are promoting (the) vaccine because it has been shown the one thing that will end this pandemic is vaccination, so that is our goal.”
The Weber-Morgan Health Department, like all health deparments in Utah, also offers third doses of the vaccine to the immunocompromised. Across its two counties it reports 258 third doses administered.