Vaccines on the Move: How Utah is serving the underserved

Local News

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Help is on the way to Utah’s most underserved and vulnerable populations. Friday, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson toured the George E. Wahlen Veteran’s Home, along with others from the Utah Department of Health.

The is just one stop for Henderson as part of their vaccine equity roadmap.

“It’s important for individuals to have that opportunity and that access. But it’s also important for the greater good of society to make sure that we’re protecting public health by not leaving any areas out,” Henderson said.

Mobile vaccination sites are removing barriers in Utah communities.

“We’re gonna be getting into communities of color, the harder-to-reach areas where there’s language barriers, technology barriers, transportation, you know, many places, people have to work multiple jobs and can’t take time off to go to a clinic,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, the health department’s deputy director.

The state’s goal is to vaccinate every Utahn who wants the shot.

“This is one of the many efforts that we have to make sure that that equity is spread around throughout the state,” Henderson said.

Henderson and Hofmann were at the Veteran’s Home as some Utahns got their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s really touching to see how grateful they are when they get the vaccine,” Hofmann said. “Some of them are a little bit nervous, but it really is a way for them to get back to normal.”

Beginning Wednesday, vaccination eligibility opens up to Utahns 16 years and older.

Hofmann said this will allow mobile teams to not have to make multiple trips to each location.

“Just an example, Salt Lake County was supporting vaccinations at the Calvary Baptist Church,” she said. “They’ve been out there four or five times already because they keep going back every time we opened it up to newer people. And now, if it’s open to everyone who’s eligible, when we go, we can efficiently use this really precious resource of our mobile capacity.”

As of Friday, the state has fully vaccinated 17 percent of Utah’s population.

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