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Governor Cox opens COVID-19 booster shots to all adult Utahns

To understand vaccine-induced immunity more fully, researchers are comparing antibody levels in people who received the Moderna vaccine but still got COVID-19 with levels in people who got the vaccine but didn't fall ill.
AFP via Getty Images
Starting Friday, November 19th, all adults over the age of 18 will be able to get a COVID-19 booster shot in Utah.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced Thursday that all Utahns over the age of 18 can now get booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control say anyone over the age of 65, or adults who live or work in high-risk environments are eligible to receive a booster dose.

Governor Cox said on Thursday he’s opening up eligibility to all adults in the state because almost all Utah counties, with the exception of Rich, Daggett, and Piute counties, are classified as areas of high COVID-19 transmission, according to the Utah Department of Health.

“We are asking all providers to provide boosters to any adult in the state of Utah who would like to receive a booster, since we are in a high-risk situation,” he said.

All adults can receive booster shots starting Friday, November 19th.

Cox said ongoing confusion around who is actually eligible for a booster dose was the motivation behind the decision. He said he wanted to provide clarity before the holiday season.

“Unfortunately, the whole booster discussion has been very confusing to most people," added Cox. "We just want to make it very simple, especially as we’re heading into the holiday season. We know that families are going to be together, especially with higher risk grandparents and others, and we want people to be as safe as possible.”

The Utah Department of Health says over 280,000 Utahns have already received booster shots. State Epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen said Utah’s high number of daily infections, which has held steady between 1,200 and 1,600 per day since late August, points towards herd immunity still being an elusive target.

“The spread that we’re seeing right now says that herd immunity is not here," Nolen said. "We need more. I think it’s something that we’re watching, but right now, our transmission suggests we’re not there yet.”

Both Nolen and Cox said the best way to lower case rates and achieve herd immunity is through vaccinations. They encouraged all vaccinated adults to get a booster shot. Regular vaccines are currently available to anyone over the age of five. To find a vaccine location near you, click here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.