Is Utah ready for when a coronavirus vaccine is available?

Aug 5, 2020, 2:31 PM
Moderna Utah...
FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. According to results released on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, early-stage testing showed the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. revved up people’s immune systems the way scientists had hoped. The vaccine is made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Operation Warp Speed is the federal government’s code name for developing a vaccine for coronavirus. 

The process of developing a vaccine, which normally takes five to seven years for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the FDA to roll out, is now being pushed to nine to twelve month timeline.  And could be ready in limited release by October, according to Rich Lakin, immunization program manager for the Utah Department of Health.

“There are at least two companies in Phase 3 of vaccine trials,” Lakin stated. 

Phase three of a vaccine trial means at least 20,000 people are injected and then tested for side-effects. The trials will also determine if the vaccine is effective and for how long.

Preparing for the coronavirus vaccine in Utah 

Lakin said a panel is being formed in order to be prepared to distribute the coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available in Utah.

“Seventeen people will sit on a ‘prioritization group’ to decide who will be first in line for the vaccine,” Lakin said.  “The panel will consist of doctors and health officials, including myself and [Utah Department of Health Epidemiologist] Dr. Angela Dunn.” 

The CDC will issue guidelines for which people should receive a coronavirus vaccine first.  But each state has the flexibility to re-arrange those guidelines based on which sector of the population is a ‘hot spot,’ Lakin said.

Some states may need their health care workers vaccinated first, for example, but Lakin said others may prioritize residents over 65 as most in need. 

Why prioritize? It takes time to produce enough vaccine

States will need to prioritize coronavirus vaccine doses, because it will take time to produce enough vaccine for everyone.

“That’s what happened when the H1N1 vaccine became available,” Larkin continued. “We had to decide which areas of the population were most in need.”

But Lakin advises H1N1, a type of flu, is a completely different disease from coronavirus.  He said it’s more closely related to the SARS virus, which never developed a vaccine.

“The reason,” Lakin said, “is because coronavirus is much more highly contagious than SARS.” 

On the positive side, he notes, the COVID-19 death rate is lower than that of SARS.

“While the first vaccines may be ready in October, more will most likely be available by January,” stated Lakin.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Drivers are being asked to avoid the area of 1200 West and 600 North after a fatal auto-pedestrian ...
Simone Seikaly

Police investigating fatal auto-pedestrian crash in Salt Lake City

Drivers are being asked to avoid the area of 1200 West and 600 North after a fatal auto-pedestrian accident.
10 hours ago
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs after attending a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill ...
Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona, CNN

George Santos tells House Republicans he wants off of his committees until issues are resolved

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told CNN that it was Santos' decision that he made on his own to "abstain" from the committees.
10 hours ago
The Central City Recreation Center at 615 South 300 East in Salt Lake City will be used as an emerg...
Simone Seikaly

Citing ‘dangerously low’ overnight temps, county opens emergency shelter

Volunteers are among the county and city workers helping provide emergency shelter for the homeless at the Central City Recreation Center.
10 hours ago
Police are investigating a double homicide that happened in Taylorsville overnight. According to Sg...
Amie Schaeffer

Suspect still at large after double homicide in Taylorsville

Two males were found dead in a car at the Atherton Apartments in Taylorsville on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2023. The homicide suspect fled the scene.
10 hours ago
Fallout from the deadly police beating of Black motorist Tyre Nichols now includes the firing of t...
Steve Almasy, Mark Morales, Holly Yan and Nick Valencia, CNN

Other EMT, police, fired or on leave after Tyre Nichols’ deadly beating

An investigation concluded that the two EMTs "failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols."
10 hours ago
Nicole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, wipes away a tear during a press conference for SB117, a bi...
SAM METZ, The Associated Press

Petito family lobbies for ‘lethality assessment’ law in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — When officers pulled over a van for speeding outside of Arches National Park in August 2021, they found a visibly distraught young couple in an emotional fight. Gabby Petito, 22, and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, were driving across the United States, and upon observing the couple, police officers in […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Is Utah ready for when a coronavirus vaccine is available?