Utah Unlikely To Meet Governor's July 4 Vaccine Goal
Utah’s governor set a lofty COVID-19 vaccination goal with a July 4 deadline. However, it seems unlikely the state will hit its target in the next couple weeks.
Utah has a goal of vaccinating 70% of all adults in the state with at least one shot by the 4th. However at his monthly press conference Thursday, Gov. Spencer Cox said the state is short of its goal by about 6%.
He said the state would need to see a large surge in vaccinations, but it’s looking like that won’t happen.
"So we're close. We're within shouting distance of 70%," Cox said. "If you're wondering, we are right at the national average. So the good news is we're not doing worse than the nation. The bad news is we're not doing better than the national average."
Summit County has vaccinated 84% of eligible residents with at least one shot. Wasatch has seen significantly less uptake sitting at 57%.
As Utah works to vaccinate more of its population, new COVID-19 cases increased last week. Earlier this month, the 7-day rolling average in the state was around 200 new cases per day. Since last Wednesday, the rolling average has been above 280.
The vast majority of those cases are unvaccinated people.
Of the more than 28,000 cases since March 23 - when vaccines opened to residents over 16 - only around 1,000 have been breakthrough cases. There have been 108 breakthrough hospitalizations and three vaccinated people have died.
Cox said more than 98% of deaths since late March were unvaccinated people.
"Short story … vaccines work," he said. "They work at the rates we were told they were going to work. They're incredibly successful, and we need people to get vaccinated."
Variants are one of the contributors to the increase in cases throughout the state. The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, now makes up 75% of all new variant cases.
But Cox said vaccines work as a solution to all variants.
"The Delta variant is here," he said. "We believe that the Delta variant is growing in the state of Utah, but again, not amongst vaccinated people. So the answer, as always, is to get vaccinated."
To find more information on variants and vaccines, you can visit the state's coronavirus dashboard.