Summit County Health Department Hosts COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics To Address Accessibility, Hesitancy
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic for high schoolers in Summit County drew out hundreds of students Monday. The county now has plans to move to more targeted vaccine clinics.
Nearly 400 high school students got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Park City High School Monday. The 16 and 17 year olds will be able to get their second dose at the follow-up clinic scheduled for May 10.
Prior to Monday’s clinic, 33% of Summit County teenages 16-17 had received their first dose, according to county health department director, Rich Bullough.
While around 78% of all Summit County residents have received their first dose, Bullough said he doesn’t know what to expect from eligible minors.
"Ultimately, it is their parents that get permission for them to be vaccinated," Bullough said. "And one thing that that we've observed in Summit County over many years actually is a growing exemption from childhood vaccines for schools. And so we have a relatively high rate of people here who for one reason or another, seek an exemption for their child to be vaccinated for school. So you know that COVID has been different. We've seen you know, really high up ticks of the COVID vaccine in Summit County."
He said the clinic on Monday was part of a larger effort from the health department to start addressing vaccine accessibility and hesitancy.
"It was more of a targeted effort," he said. "And I think we're going to continue to see more of that. We've had the mass vaccine clinics up and running now, for months. I think we've really had a remarkable response to that. But there are still pockets out there that are for one reason or another, not being vaccinated, whether that's a choice, or whether it is just a matter of convenience."
He said they have seen a decrease in demand, but that’s to be expected.
"Here we are in April, and we're at 78%," he said. "So we should expect it to slow down in my mind, that just means we shift our strategies. We don't give up. We make it available in multiple sites, smaller clinics, maybe a little more confidential, with respect to, you know, individuals just being able to go into the health department or the personal physician."
One gap in vaccinations the health department has seen is with people 20-49 years old. To address this, the department has set up a walk-in clinic on Main Street in Park City.
"As we know, many of our workers are within that age group, in particular, in bars and restaurants and other businesses like that," he said. "And so, there's multiple ways to protect people, one of our goals is to get as many vaccines and arms as we possibly can."
The clinic is open for all Summit County employees Wednesday, April 21, from 12-5 p.m. at the Treasure Mountain Inn.
Bullough said they’re also expanding clinics out of the Park City area. The Health Departments in Kamas and Coalville will host vaccine clinics on May 1.
To schedule an appointment to get vaccinated you can call the Summit County COVID-19 hotline at 435-333-0050 or you can visit their website, summitcountyhealth.org/vaccine.