Utah's Phase 2 of COVID-19 Vaccinations Focuses On Older Adults, Leaves Out Essential Workers

Dec 28, 2020

A nurse at the University of Utah Health receiving her first dose of vaccine
Credit University of Utah Health

Utah has laid out plans for Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations, focusing on older Utahns - while leaving essential workers out of the plan, for now.  

The initial plan that was laid out in Phase 2 included people over the age of 65, essential workers, and minority and ethnic communities. It also included those living in homeless shelters or incarcerated.

The Utah Department of Health unveiled a new plan for Phase 2 with an emphasis on older populations. 

Phase two of vaccinations will start as early as mid-February. The first part of the phase will focus on residents who are 75 and older. 

UDOH Interim Director Rich Saunders was quoted in a press release. He said Phase 2 should focus on older populations because they’re “far more likely to be hospitalized, to need intensive care, and to pass away from COVID-19.” 

Statistics show that adults ages 65-84, have a more than three times greater risk of being hospitalized and that risk only increases for adults over the age of 85. Mortality rates are also higher in these age groups; 77% of all COVID-19 deaths are people over the age of 65. 

However one group that was left out of the newly outlined Phase 2 is essential workers. A statement from the health department said that “prioritization based on an individual’s employment status in certain industries is no longer being considered.”

However, after older populations are vaccinated, the next waves of Phase 2 will include residents with certain underlying medical conditions. Later waves of Phase 2 will include tribal reservation communities, minority and ethinic groups at higher risk and people who live in group settings - such as homeless shelters and prisons. 

Utah is still in Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan, immunizing healthcare workers and long term care facility staff and residents. Later in the first phase, teachers, school staff and first responders will be vaccinated.


Vaccine Timeline
Credit Utah Department of Health