Utah (ABC4) – Vaccine eligibility in Utah has been opened up to everyone 16 years and older.
President Joe Biden recently announced that all states should make all adults eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1 in an address about getting the United States ‘closer to normal’ by July 4.
Utah was already ahead of the game. Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox announced Utah’s opened vaccine eligibility would open to all 16 and older on March 24, 2021.
Gov. Cox says all of Utah’s local health departments, along with the state health department, are on board with the health equity plan. He says this is why the state decided to open up vaccine eligibility to Utah’s whole population, so providers can vaccinate everyone instead of segments within underserved populations.
In an effort to adhere to the Governor’s plan, the Salt Lake County Health Department will be opening evening and nighttime COVID-19 vaccination appointments for residents who may have conflicting work hours or childcare needs.
Nicholas Rupp, spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department tells ABC4 that beginning this week, “Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) will open its appointment scheduling window until 8 p.m. one day each week at two vaccination sites.”
Rupp says this is in an effort to get as many residents as possible vaccinated. He says people can now schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Salt Palace and on Thursdays at Mountain America Expo Center.
“SLCoHD is committed to removing barriers to vaccination, and these evening hours will help people who are unavailable during traditional operating hours for whatever reason to schedule their vaccination at a time more convenient for them,” Rupp adds.
Davis County Health Department Communications Manager Trevor Warner tells ABC4 they are “testing out expanded hours on Thursday and Friday of this week.”
He says they will be operating until 7 p.m. at the Legacy Events Center location in Farmington.
“Once we see how everything goes, we’ll discuss further if we’ll expand our hours or not,” Warner adds.
Utah’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution has gone through local health departments, healthcare providers, and local pharmacies.
Charla Haley, Public Information Officer for the Utah Department of Health, tells ABC4 that Utah residents “search by vaccine type and for doses near you at VaccineFinder.org”
Many pharmacies throughout the state will have appointments available during operating hours and many into the evening when Utahns get off work.
According to VaccineFinder, states report data to the VaccineFinder website to help residents in a few select states to find a COVID-19 vaccine near them.
VaccineFinder is a free, online service where users can search for locations that offer vaccinations. “We work with partners such as clinics, pharmacies, and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services,” the VaccineFinder website states.
If you type in your zip code, the site will will show vaccine doses available nearby and time slots to make an appointment.
According to the Utah Department of Health, Utahns must schedule their appointments ahead of time.
“Do not just show up without an appointment, as each vaccine provider may have a different process for registration. All providers are experiencing a high volume of calls and website traffic, as demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is high. Everyone who wants the vaccine will get it over time,” the Utah Department of Health’s website states.
The Utah Department of Health also ask Utahns trying to register for their vaccine to not “vaccine shop.”
The Utah Department of Health and Utah Governor Spencer Cox have asked Utah residents to not go vaccine shopping by trying not to “get a specific brand of vaccine.”
“The best vaccine is whichever one is available to you when it’s your turn,” the Utah Department of Health shares. “They are all safe and effective.”