Why mass vaccination remains the focus of health officials in fight against COVID-19

A study from Rockefeller University found 0.5% of people caught COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.

Registered nurse Seth Christensen fills a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Feb. 11. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and other state health leaders are pushing to vaccinate more Utahns, even offering mobile clinics in rural areas and reserving doses for use in those areas. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Utah health department reports nearly 30% of population is protected

Utah’s COVID-19 case numbers seem to be holding steady, as another 279 new cases and one new death were reported on Sunday.

The state is averaging about 371 new positive COVID-19 tests per day over the past seven days, with fewer people getting tested on the weekends.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said the number of coronavirus cases in the state is “declining very, very slowly” after plateauing for several weeks. Though, it’s a far cry from the weeks when new cases tallied nearly 5,000 per day.

The governor and other state health leaders are pushing to vaccinate more Utahns, even offering mobile clinics in rural areas and reserving doses for use in those areas.

“The race against the virus is still real,” Cox said during last week’s news conference, adding that vaccinations are another tool to help reduce the spread of the virus, specifically while cases are still trending low and “while we have the upper hand.”

Fewer people have been hospitalized because of COVID-19 this week compared to last week, though, it was reported on Thursday that there are still 20 to 30 new admissions daily due to the highly contagious disease. There have been 16,220 people in Utah hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic hit the state in March 2020.

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There are 137 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 20 fewer than a week ago, according to the health department.

And, vaccination rates have increased by 2.5% in a week, meaning nearly 30% of Utahns are now fully vaccinated.

The health department reports that 1.3 million Utahns have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including 953,977 who are fully vaccinated. Nearly 90,000 of Utahns who are fully vaccinated received the Janssen vaccine, which requires just one dose and was under investigation for a couple weeks, halting its administration for a time.

National health officials have advised that even people exhibiting low risk of severe disease — those who are young and relatively healthy — should consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Preventing the disease will also prevent long-hauler symptoms that are turning up months later in the healthy population.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have reported symptoms of fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, brain fog and more, months after even minor infections.

The state has tested 2,567,778 people for COVID-19, utilizing more than 4.6 million tests, as many people require additional testing.

The virus has caused 2,204 deaths in Utah, including the latest — a Utah County man between the ages of 45 and 64 who was hospitalized at the time of his death.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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