Vaccine eligibility likely for all Utah adults by April 1

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Three weeks from now, it is anticipated that all adults in Utah will be eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Governor’s Office said this is possible because 1.5 million more vaccines are expected to come to Utah by the middle of April.

Right now, Utah receives about 80,000 first-round doses of the COVID-19 vaccine a week.

Tom Hudachko, the communications director at the Utah Department of Health, said by the end of March to the beginning of April, that number should double. He added the April 1 date is possible to open up vaccine eligibility to everyone, but it all depends on projections.

“Our goal is to be nimble and prepared,” said Diane Rindlisbacher.

Rindlisbacher is vaccine system lead at Intermountain Healthcare.

With Utah seemingly behind on vaccines, how will the state deal with this plan?

“Of course everything has to go according to plan,” said Hudachko. “We remain flexible in our planning and if projections don’t come through then adjustments can and will be made.”

Hudachko said projections look promising now.

The Biden administration is pushing Johnson and Johnson to distribute 100 million additional vaccines nationwide.

“We are hopeful that the vaccines will flow as President Biden says they will,” said Rindlisbacher.

Utah’s age demographics skew the vaccine data because of how many young people live in the state.

Hudachko said when and if those Johnson and Johnson vaccines are released, Utah will only receive .84 percent of them. That’s only 840,000 doses.

That is because vaccine distribution is based on the adult population over 18 and Utah has 30 percent of the population younger than 18 years old.

Rindlisbacher said the April 1st goal of vaccine eligibility for all is likely, but people who sign up won’t receive them right away. She added it’s a waiting game to see if this plan will hold true.

“It’s a little bit better than by the seat of your pants, however, the precision available to us to plan isn’t there and that’s to be expected this is a pandemic,” said Rindlisbacher.

The Biden administration said there should be enough vaccines available nationwide to vaccinate everyone American adult by the end of May.

Utah’s health leaders say they are prepared to take on an influx of vaccines. 

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