Utah residents 75 and older to get vaccine in second phase

Registered nurse Sophie Woodbury, left, poses for a photo with state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn, and fellow registered nurses Monte Roberts, Amanda Vicchrilli, William Brunt and Julie Nelson at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Woodbury, Roberts, Vicchrilli and Burnt were vaccinated for the coronavirus by Nelson. (Jeffrey D. Allred/The Deseret News via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah residents 75 years and older are scheduled to receive the coronavirus vaccine in mid-February under a plan approved Monday for the second phase of distribution.

Other groups who could be line to get the COVID-19 vaccine include people with underlying health conditions and those who live in group settings, but a person’s job is longer under consideration, the Utah Department of Health said in a news release.

It makes most sense to get the vaccine next to older people who are most at risk of hospitalization and death, said Rich Saunders, interim executive director of the Utah Department of Health.

Of the state’s 1,219 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, 77% have been people 65 years and older, state health statistics show.

“Ensuring these members of our community receive the vaccine as early as possible will save lives and help reduce the burden on our hospitals,” said Saunders in the news release.

The state has given the vaccine to 17,543 people as of Monday during the first phase that has focused on front-line health care workers with the highest risk of exposure.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have declined in Utah to a rolling weekly average of about 2,000, down from 3,000 in early December.

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