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Health, Science & Environment

Utah Has Majorly Ramped Up Vaccine Distribution Speed

COVID Brief 0108
Jeffrey D. Allred
Deseret News
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Thursday during a press conference that the state had nearly doubled the number of vaccines it’s administered during the past week.

Utah has nearly doubled the amount of vaccines it’s distributed in the last week. In the first roughly three weeks of distribution, the state used about 68,000 vaccine doses. In just the past week, it administered about 65,000.

Gov. Spencer Cox instituted major changes to the state’s distribution plans a week ago with one of his first executive orders. It put local health departments in charge of distribution rather than individual medical providers. He also told them to use all their doses within a week.

“I want to thank all of our partners who stepped up and took the call to heart last week,” he said. “We basically doubled the amount of vaccines that we have administered — over 60,000 vaccines administered in one week.”

Cox said his administration has told local health departments that they can have whatever resources they need from the state to administer vaccines quickly.

“They're not used to having unlimited resources,” Cox said. “We have them coming in saying things like, ‘Well, we would like to have a location where we can have a high throughput site, but that would mean we would have to rent a place. And what we've said is, ‘Don't wait, don't ask, do it and send us the bill and we will pay for that. We will make that happen.”

Cox said he’s working with the Legislature to make sure that funding can continue to come through.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson has been touring some rural health departments. She said they need more staff and better technology to help track the number of people who have gotten vaccinated. The departments are required to report that data to the state every morning.

She said at one department she visited, nurses were gathering up that data and entering it into the computer system.

“That's one area where we said, ‘OK, look, if you need help with data entry ... we're going to help you with that, because the nurses can do certain things that other people can't do,” she said. “We can help provide people to do those things that really anybody could do. And they just need bodies to be able to do it. And so it's things like that that we are working on.”

So far, Utah has given out 133,202 vaccine doses.

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