Full immunity for Utahns lags behind total vaccination numbers

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Washington. In his first official press conference Thursday, President Joe Biden claimed credit for delivering 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Americans in just the first 58 days of his presidential administration. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

SALT LAKE CITY – On the day that President Joe Biden claimed credit for delivering 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Americans during just the first 58 days of his administration, state officials here said that nearly 1.2 million of those shots were administered in Utah.

In nearby Idaho, health officials said Thursday that more than 630,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered statewide.

But experts at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta warn that totals of the vaccine doses administered can be easily misinterpreted as progress toward controlling the pandemic.

Those figures can be misleading because most of the COVID-19 vaccines now available require two immunization shots before becoming fully effective.

For example, on Mar. 22 when the Biden administration reached its promised 100-million dose milestone, only 43 million Americans were fully immunized.

Here in Utah, 1.2 million shots in arms have immunized only about 450,000 residents, or 19 percent of the state’s population.

In Idaho, less than 250,000 residents are now fully immunized.

The state Health Department is now reporting that the total number of coronavirus infections in Utah stands at 383,260. That number is an increase of 527 infections, including 36 new cases in the Bear River Health District overnight. That brings the local total of cases in Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties to 20,589.

While no new deaths occurred locally, state officials reported 7 deaths overnight. But four of those fatalities actually occurred prior to Mar. 1.

In an unusual development, more than half of the newly-reported fatalities were in the 45 to 64 age group. All of those victims were males and only one of them was hospitalized at the time of death.

The other victims were a male over the age of 85, who was not hospitalized, and two females in the 65 to 84 age group. One of those females was a resident of a long-term care facility and the other was not hospitalized.

Three of the newly reported fatalities occurred in Salt Lake County, two in Utah County and one each in Davis and Washington counties.

The new statewide case total resulted from nearly 8,000 COVID-19 tests administered on Wednesday.

More than 26,000 additional doses of vaccine were administered on Tuesday.

The number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Utah is 134, which is 7 more than Wednesday. Total hospitalizations since the beginning of the outbreak now stands at 15,379.

In enhanced health statistics from Idaho, state officials reported their statewide case count jumped by 425 overnight to 178,544 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Four new deaths were also reported, bringing the state death toll to 1,952.

No deaths were reported in neighboring Idaho counties. The case count in Franklin County jumped by 1 to 1,111, by 1 to 338 in Oneida County and remained stable at 365 in Bear Lake County.

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