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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

Utah Readies to Receive 154,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

December 11, 2020

Governor Herbert yesterday announced that teachers would move up to the front of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to teachers, the first phase of vaccinations in Utah will focus on healthcare workers, as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

Last week, BioUtah sent a letter to the Utah Department of Health and state leaders, including Gov. Herbert and Gov.-Elect Cox urging that life sciences workers be prioritized for early vaccinations as essential workers.

With the endorsement of its vaccine advisory committee, the FDA is expected to grant emergency authorization to Pfizer’s vaccine in short order. After its approval, about 154,000 initial vaccine doses will be shipped to Utah in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s proportional allocations, state officials said.

Those doses will likely be shipped to the state next week, said health department immunization program manager, Rich Lakin. Somewhere between 60% and 80% of Utahns will need to get vaccinated for the state to achieve herd immunity.

Health department state epidemiologist, Dr. Angela Dunn, also announced a new contact tracing system. Starting Friday, people who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a text from the health department instead of a call, Dunn said. The text will include a link to a secure form where they can list information for any other people they came in close contact with.