All adults eligible for COVID vaccine, even as county has 37th victim
Last week, Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced that starting March 24 everyone 16 and older in Utah will be eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
The news comes as the 37th person to die with COVID-19 in San Juan County was reported last week. A Blanding man in his 60s passed away earlier in March.
While all San Juan County residents age 16 and up have been eligible to receive the vaccine for several weeks through Utah Navajo Health System, the announcement from the governor means that all county residents can now receive the vaccine from health care providers throughout the county.
The vaccine is now available to receive by appointment at local health care clinics and the Main Street Drug pharmacy in Monticello.
This includes the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, as well as the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They are now available to all adults, plus 16- and 17-year-olds with parental permission.
More than 40 percent of San Juan County residents have already been partially vaccinated, due in part to governmental prioritization of vaccine distribution to the tribal communities that have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
The prioritization meant large allotments of vaccines were given to Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS). After making the vaccine available to Diné and Ute Mountain Ute residents, UNHS shared their additional allotments with non-Indigenous residents of the county.
UNHS and other health care partners put the vaccines to work, holding more than 40 drive-thru vaccination clinics throughout San Juan County since vaccination began in December and concluding in March.
In total, 4,377 people have been fully vaccinated in San Juan County, with an additional 2,979 who have received the first of the two-shot vaccine.
More than 11,700 doses of the vaccine have been administered, with 2,200 administered by San Juan County and 9,500 doses administered by UNHS.
At the end of February, UNHS saw an increase in patients from out of the area, with many coming from Colorado or the Wasatch Front.
UNHS Chief Operating Officer Byron Clarke said they even had people come from as far away as Ohio and New York to receive the vaccine at UNHS drive-thru clinics. As a result, UNHS concluded its drive-thru operations on March 22.
In his announcement, Governor Cox reminded residents to get their second shot at the same place as their first shot in order to avoid wasting vaccines.