Vaccine eligibility could expand to all Utah adults by April 1

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FILE – This September 2020, file photo provided by Johnson &Johnson shows a pharmacist preparing to give an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. (Johnson & Johnson via AP, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Vaccine eligibility could be opened to every adult in Utah on April 1, according to a statement from Governor Spencer Cox’s office.

In addition to expanded vaccine access, his office says the mask mandate “will continue after April 10 in schools and for large gatherings.” A bill awaiting Gov. Cox’s signature after passing in the legislature puts an end to the statewide mask mandate in early April.

Here is the full statement from Gov. Cox’s office:

“Once it became clear that the Legislature planned to end the mask mandate immediately, and with a veto proof majority, our administration worked with them to push the date back to get as many people vaccinated as possible. It’s important to note that the mask mandate will continue after April 10 in schools and for large gatherings. Also, businesses can still require masks. And of course, every individual can choose to wear a mask. We anticipate opening up vaccine eligibility to every adult in the state on April 1 and will likely have 1.5 million first doses in the state by April 10.”

The most recent health order from the Utah Department of Health mandated that the statewide mask mandate could be lifted for counties designated as having a “low” transmission level eight weeks after 1,633,000 first doses of vaccines have been allocated to the state.

As of Wednesday morning, 1,070,975 vaccines have been delivered to Utah, according to UDOH.

On Tuesday, Alaska became the first state to drop eligibility requirements and allow anyone 16-years-old and older who lives or works in the state to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker shows Alaska leading states in the percentage of its population to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

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