SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Governor Spencer Cox announced that Utahns who are 16 years of age or older and have certain underlying health conditions are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
The date was previously set for March 1.
The governor also announced that all people who are eligible to receive the vaccine no longer have to wait for appointments in their home county. If a resident finds an appointment available outside of their county, they can schedule those appointments.
Cox noted that those residents will also have to return to the same location for the second dose.
Those with the following health conditions are now eligible for the vaccine:
- Asplenia including splenectomy or spleen dysfunction
- Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (this is also called Class III or severe obesity)
- Chronic heart disease (not hypertension) including chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and severe congenital or valvular heart disease
- Chronic liver disease including chronic hepatitis B or C, alcohol-related liver disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, or primary sclerosing cholangitis or hemochromatosis
- Cancer diagnosed in the last 5 years that started in the blood, bone marrow, or cells of the immune system. This type of cancer is called hematologic cancer (such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma).
- Cancer diagnosed in the last year that did not start in the blood or bone marrow. This type of cancer is called non-hematologic cancer (excluding basal and squamous cell cancer diagnoses).
- Immunosuppressed status (weakened immune system) from blood, bone marrow or organ transplantation; HIV; long-term use of corticosteroids; or other medications that weaken the immune system
- Neurological conditions that impair respiratory function, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson’s disease, progressive cerebellar disease, and quadriplegia or hemiplegia
- Receiving dialysis for severe kidney disease
- Receive immunosuppression therapy
- Sickle-cell anaemia
- Severe chronic respiratory disease (other than asthma) including severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fibrosing lung disease, bronchiectasis, or cystic fibrosis
- Solid organ transplant recipient
- Stage 4 or stage 5 chronic kidney disease
- Stroke and dementia (Alzheimer’s, vascular, or frontotemporal)
- Uncontrolled diabetes with an A1c of 9% or more
The state does not require a doctor’s note to schedule a vaccination appointment. Cox pleaded with Utahns not to lie about health conditions so that he could get a vaccine from more people at risk.
Appointments can be made through local health departments or through select retail pharmacies.
“We expect COVID-19 vaccines to be available starting in April for other age groups, people with underlying medical conditions not listed above, and those who live in congregated settings and are at increased risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID- 19 “, according to the Utah Department of Health. “The vaccines should be available to the general public in late spring or early summer.”