SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Thursday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced Utah would increase COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 65 and older as well as those with underlying medical conditions.
“We are trying to be more viral than the virus,” Gov. Cox shares.
Utah has now administered more COVID-19 doses than the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. Looking forward to March and April, Gov. Cox says it’s looking better than he thought it would.
In early January, Gov. Cox announced Utah’s 70 and older would be eligible to start getting vaccinated on January 18.
Gov. Cox announced starting March 1, 2021, eligibility will be lowered from 70 and older to 65 and older. Also, people over 18 with underlying medical conditions will be eligible to receive their vaccines.
Nicholas Rupp, Spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Health Department, tells ABC4 News the county expects to open registration for those now eligible in the last week of February; a specific date has not been released.
Those who register at the end of February will begin receiving their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 1, 2021.
Rupp says they will not schedule residents 65 and older until everyone on the waiting list for 70 and over has had the opportunity to receive their vaccine. “65 and older cannot jump in front of those 70 and older who have been waiting patiently,” Rupp adds.
He says the county health department is working to get all those 70 and older through the waitlist by the end of the month so they can move on to the new eligible groups.
Registration for those 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions can register online or by phone. The two groups’ registration eligibility will become available on the same day, Rupp adds.
He encourages those who can register online to please do so. There will be long wait times on the phone, and asks residents to reserve phone registrations for those who do not have any access to the internet.
Those with underlying health conditions are asked to make their registrations based on “the honor system,” Rupp tells ABC.
He says the Salt Lake County Health Department will not require any type of doctor’s note or proof to register to get the vaccine. He says they ask all those who do not have an underlying health condition named on the list Gov. Cox provided to wait until it is their turn.
See the list of approved underlying health condition below:
“I am optimistic that people who live and work in Salt Lake County will understand how important it is we come together and protect the people in our community that are more vulnerable than perhaps they are,” Rupp shares.
In January, when residents 70 and older were able to register to get their vaccines, Salt Lake County’s system failed.
Rupp says the vendor they used last time could not handle that capacity. He says they have implemented a waiting room service to help the server handle the number of users trying to register this time around.
Rupp says when the site nears capacity, users will be placed in the waiting room for availability to open. He says it’s a system similar to the one theaters use when selling tickets.
The exact date and time registration will go live will be announced on Salt Lake Health Department.