Largest vaccine shipment yet arrives in Summit County
Officials say entire 70-plus population could receive first dose in March if supply increases as expected
Summit County received 900 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the state on Monday, more than double its typical weekly allotment and its largest shipment to date, but officials indicated that the vaccine supply could skyrocket as soon as April when there could be three or four times that number delivered weekly.
“My hope is that in three or four or five weeks, 900 doesn’t seem that big,” Health Director Rich Bullough told the Summit County Board of Health on Monday. “But right now, that 900 is a big number for us.”
Bullough told the board that state officials indicated they would start receiving 250,000 doses per week from the federal government by the end of March, up from the current allocation of around 33,000.
Bullough was quick to caution that both the number of doses and the timeline of delivery are moving targets and that the county had been disappointed by previous estimates that didn’t pan out.
He said the uptick was due to both the impending authorization for the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as well as the Biden administration’s push to purchase and manufacture more doses of the Pfizer- and Moderna-manufactured vaccines, the latter of which the county receives.
It will likely still be months before the average Summit County resident will be offered a vaccine, however.
– Register to receive a vaccine at summitcountyhealth.org/vaccine/ or by calling 435-333-0050. The county is asking residents to register online, though officials will work with individuals who don’t have easy access to the internet or need help navigating the online process.
– Summit County’s COVID-19 hotline, which can answer vaccine-related questions, can be reached at 435-333-0050 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
– Those eligible to receive a vaccine, including residents 70 and older, should be on the lookout for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, which will include a link to schedule an appointment.
– There are more than 3,500 seniors registered to receive a vaccine, so it may be weeks before all seniors receive an invitation to schedule a vaccine appointment.
– County staffers will call seniors to help them navigate the online sign-up portal. They ask seniors to have their insurance information at the ready, as well as a list of their medications and a pen and paper.
Source: Summit County
Last week, the county closed the signup window for the first phase of vaccine recipients that included teachers and first responders. Officials are now scheduling appointments for people 70 and older who live in Summit County.
Bullough said the county has split that cohort into two groups: those with preexisting conditions and those without.
As of Monday, the county had scheduled 1,600 appointments and delivered around 2,200 first doses of inoculation, according to Derek Moss, the county’s nursing director.
The county will offer a vaccination appointment by the end of February to all individuals with a Summit County address who are 70 and older and who have a preexisting condition, according to the county. Healthier older adults will be offered an appointment starting in March.
The appointments will occur one to two weeks after they are scheduled, Moss indicated.
Officials have said the county’s vaccine appointments were almost completely booked through February, but that was based on the county’s expectation it would receive about 400 vaccine doses per week. As the supply from the state has increased — averaging 500 in recent weeks, with the 900-dose shipment further bolstering supply — the county has added additional appointments.
Health officials, per Gov. Spencer Cox’s mandate, are delivering each first dose of vaccine within seven days of receipt. In Summit County, that’s meant vaccines that usually arrive Monday are delivered by Friday evening.
Moss estimated it would take about two months from Monday to deliver the first dose of vaccine to the county’s 70-and-older population based on what he called a low estimate of 400 weekly doses. If doses increase to 600 weekly, it would take about five weeks, and if doses reach 700 per week, which officials have predicted will soon happen, Moss said it would take four weeks.
Officials expect the Cox administration to open vaccine eligibility to Utahns 65 and older in coming weeks, but when that will happen — and who, exactly, will be included in that group — has not been announced.
Moss said that the county’s drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Utah Film Studios can handle about 2,000 initial doses per week, and officials have said the Park City Hospital has agreed to administer second doses of the vaccine.
Moss lauded the more than 200 volunteers who have helped run the clinic and said more volunteers might be needed when the county receives enough vaccine to run the clinic almost every day.
“Every time we run that clinic, things run smoother,” Moss said.
If the anticipated influx of doses materializes this spring, Bullough indicated the county Health Department would continue to act as a “hub” for vaccine delivery, but that it would incorporate local partners, like pharmacies and grocery stores, to help administer the shots.
If the doses continue to be allocated by population, the county could receive more than 3,000 doses per week this spring.
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