Record editorial: When it comes to vaccine uptake, Summit County is leading the way
Summit County has reached a milestone in the pandemic — and unlike so many the community has hit over the last year, this milestone is one to celebrate.
Approximately 80% of county adults have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Having such a significant amount of our population inoculated against the disease, or on their way to immunity, is a remarkable achievement and one that provides a dose of optimism that we are at last approaching the final stages of the pandemic.
What’s more, we got there faster than almost anybody thought possible. Consider that we are just 13 months removed from the first known coronavirus case in the county. One year after we were ordered to remain in our homes apart from essential trips to combat this deadly disease, nearly four out of five adults in our community are able to slowly start resuming some elements of normal life.
Even when it became clear scientists had created vaccines capable of stemming the pandemic, the notion that we would be at this point by the final week of April seemed far-fetched. County health officials until recently believed it would not be until June or July that so many people would be vaccinated.
But Utah’s vaccination campaign took off after a sluggish start, and Summit County residents have been more eager than almost anyone in the state to take advantage of the widespread vaccine availability. As of Thursday, we were the only area in the state with more than 60% of its adult population vaccinated.
Everyone from county Health Department staffers to those volunteering at the mass vaccination site to residents who navigated clunky registration websites to make their appointments deserves a round of applause. Thanks to countless hours of hard work and the willingness of community members to roll up their sleeves for their shots, we are in better shape than any other place in Utah and most communities nationwide. It’s a complete reversal from last spring when Summit County was briefly among the country’s hardest-hit areas.
But we’re not finished yet. The Health Department is transitioning its focus to reach those who, for various reasons, have not yet sought out the vaccine. A walk-in event on Main Street Wednesday was designed as a more convenient opportunity for working-class people to be inoculated, while officials are also organizing clinics on the East Side, where vaccine hesitancy is higher, particularly among younger adults.
We’re optimistic those efforts will help us blow past the 80% mark in coming weeks, even if the pace of vaccinations slows as supply begins to outpace demand.
Hopefully, too, the rest of the state will soon catch up. For now, though, we’re thrilled to see Summit County leading the way.
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