SALT LAKE CITY – On Wednesday, all Utahns over the age of 18 will become eligible to schedule COVID-19 immunization appointments with local health departments.
While that announcement is seen as a sign of progress over the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials acknowledge that Utah is still a long way from achieving the 80- to 90-percent level of herd immunity necessary for claiming any sense of victory.
In making that announcement on Mar. 18, Gov. Spencer Cox said that he expects demand for statewide vaccinations will continue to exceed the supply of available drugs, at least temporarily.
That’s because Utah has been successfully administering about 85 percent of the vaccine supplies now being delivered, one of the highest ratios of shots-in-arms nationwide.
As of Monday, Utah had administered more than 1.154 million vaccinations.
But the Centers for Disease Control said that only about 9.5 percent of Utah’s population of 3.2 million people had been fully immunized so far. That’s because Utah has primarily been receiving the vaccines supplied by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna, both of which require two shots to be fully effective.
That means that more than half of the state’s total number of vaccinations have been administered to the slightly more than 300,000 Utahns who are now fully immunized.
On the bright side, however, state officials estimate that about 22 percent of Utahns have now had at least one dose of vaccine, so the state’s rate of full immunizations should begin to climb rapidly as follow-on doses of the vaccine are scheduled and administered.
Officials of the Department of Health also advised that there had been no new COVID-19 deaths overnight, leaving the Utah pandemic death toll at 2,062.
Nearly 2,500 additional doses of vaccine were administered on Sunday.
The total number of coronavirus infections in Utah now totals 381,788, an increase of only 159 cases since Sunday. That number includes 12 new cases in the Bear River Health District, bringing the local total of cases to 20,491.
Those new cases resulted from more than 2,300 COVID-19 tests administered on Sunday, with the state’s 24-hour positivity rate holding steady at 8.0 percent.
There are 147 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Utah, which is 10 fewer than Sunday. Total hospitalizations since the beginning of the outbreak now stands at 15,293.
In health statistics from Idaho, state officials reported their statewide case count jumped by 617 over the weekend to 177,420 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two new death were also reported, bringing the state death toll to 1,941.
No deaths were reported in neighboring Idaho counties and their case counts remained stable at 1,104 positive tests in Franklin County, 363 positives in Bear Lake County and 334 in Oneida County.