GOVERNMENT

Some Utah legislative staffers get COVID-19 vaccine priority

Feb 9, 2021, 4:03 PM
2021 General Session legislative staffers get COVID vaccine...
(Utah State Capitol. Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Utah State Capitol. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — Some 22 Utah legislative staffers received early COVID-19 vaccination access ahead of the start of the session, according to the chief of staff for House Speaker Brad Wilson.

So far in Utah, only healthcare workers, emergency responders, long-term care facility residents and staff, people over age 70, teachers and school staff can sign up for the vaccine.

In a statement, Wilson Chief of Staff Abby Osborne said those staffers are integral to the legislative process and that their working conditions made them vulnerable to possible exposure to COVID-19.

“A few days prior to the session, we had a conversation with the governor [Spencer Cox] about having a certain number of key employees whose roles are integral to the fundamental operation of the legislative process vaccinated. The staff members were not required to get the vaccine but were given the option and made a personal choice to get it,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

Legislative staffers, not lawmakers, offered COVID-19 vaccine

Osborne said they did not provide early access to legislators to the vaccine.

“No lawmakers, including the president of the Senate or the speaker of the House or their chiefs of staff were offered a vaccine,” Osborne’s statement said.

She did not identify the 22 “essential legislative staffers” who received the COVID-19 vaccine, nor did she say how many may have been under age 70.

“Simply losing one of these essential employees to sickness or quarantine would inevitably grind the lawmaking process to a halt,” she added.

Beginning March 1, residents age 65 and older — and those with some severe and chronic health conditions — become the next group of people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Utah.

As of Tuesday, 1,748 Utahns have died from coronavirus.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Some Utah legislative staffers get COVID-19 vaccine priority