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COVID-19 vaccine demand diminishing as more are vaccinated

FILE - Jan. 24, 2021, people wait in line in Seattle to receive the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health reported 19,965 vaccine doses administered on Monday, but it’s anticipating demand for COVID-19 vaccinations will diminish as more people become fully vaccinated and others delay or avoid getting the shots.

To make it easier for people to get the vaccines, several counties in Utah have opened their clinics to walk-in patients. They’re no longer insisting on the online appointments that were in such high demand when the immunizations first became available.

However, online appointments are still available for those who want them.

Diminishing demand was expected

Rich Lakin, the immunization coordinator for the Utah Department of Health, says they expected to see reduced vaccine demand.

“We knew this would happen in May, at some point. We thought, more likely, this would happen toward the end of May. But we’re two to three weeks earlier than what we had anticipated,” Lakin told KSL Newsradio. 

President Joe Biden is also urging providers to expand walk-in clinics.

“You’ll soon be able to get vaccinated without an appointment at the vast majority of our 40,000 pharmacy locations across the country,” the President said.

Drugstore chains work directly with the federal government rather than going through state health departments for vaccine supplies and policy.

Emergency use authorization is expected within days for children and teenagers 12-15 years old to begin receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Lakin doesn’t think that will result in a surge in demand. The immunizations will happen at school, Lakin said, in the same way that older teenagers received shots.

“We’re taking the vaccine to them and going into these high schools and vaccinating these students. And we anticipate that we would like to do the same with this age group,” he said.

As demand diminishes, the federal government is also expected to begin re-allocating supplies from states that are using less. States will be able to order their full allocation. But if they order less, those doses will be sent somewhere else.