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Local health officials update COVID-19 numbers, discuss “vaccine hunters”

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Local health officials say some people are going on the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, despite not meeting state requirements.

Health officials turn to waitlist

These individuals, who oftentimes travel from county to county looking for a vaccine, are being called “vaccine hunters.”

Diane Rindlisbacher, Intermountain Healthcare System Lead for COVID-19 Vaccine Administration, said the demand among eligible residents to get vaccinated has been so high that they rarely have to worry about having extra shots. Although in the rare cases where that does happen, they have protocols to follow.

“We have a contingency plan, and most other locations do, where you have a waitlist or call list,” she explains. 

For example, she said there were extra doses left over following a recent vaccination clinic in Utah County. Healthcare leaders on-site started calling individuals on the waitlist and many showed up within half-an-hour.

According to Rindlisbacher, many of the “vaccine hunters” are close to being eligible for a vaccine and are wondering if they can get a jump start on the process. 

“Mostly what we see are individuals coming with their spouses who are eligible and simply asking what the possibility is, because they have heard that the age is going to change,” she explains.

Over 600,000 vaccines administered in Utah

According to the Utah Department of Health, over 600,000 coronavirus vaccinations have been administered in the state.

It comes after officials reported an additional 701 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with 10 residents dying from complications due to the virus.

The deaths bring the total number of Utahns lost to COVID-19 to 1,852. That figure represents people who died specifically because of the effects of the coronavirus disease.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 777 per day. The current number of people hospitalized for the virus is 241. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is 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.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • 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.)
  • Get 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