SALT LAKE CITY – Hospitals are temporarily not receiving starting doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, even though they have not finished inoculating all of their staff, the Utah Department of Health confirmed to FOX 13.
Instead, under Governor Spencer Cox’s orders to speed up vaccination efforts, local health departments and long-term care facilities receive the doses for emergency workers and vulnerable adults.
“As we increase the number of residents in Utah who are currently eligible to receive the COVID-1
Hospitals have spent the past month vaccinating their healthcare professionals with a priority on those working directly with COVID-19 patients. But the move means some hospital workers (who are lower on the priority scale) will now have to wait to be vaccinated.
Intermountain Healthcare said the relocation of UDOH would not halt their second-dose vaccination efforts, which are already underway. About 30,000 health workers have already received the first dose.
But Intermountain expected it would not receive more initial doses until all second-dose staff are wrapped up. It did not anticipate the state’s shift in approach that created problems.
“The system seems to be working well,” Intermountain spokesman Jess Gomez told FOX 13. “We are getting these vaccinations out pretty quickly.”
The state’s largest healthcare system estimated that this means that 10,000 remaining employees will have to wait a few weeks before they can resume the first doses.
The state began offering the COVID-19 vaccine to K-12 teachers and staff this week. Most local school districts have chosen to start with their oldest teachers first. Next week, adults over the age of 70 will be offered it as the state begins to prioritize based on age and risk. Gov. Cox removed “essential workers” from the priority list. However, the new governor has also been pushing to increase vaccination efforts.