As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available around the country, the amount of people eligible to receive a shot also grows.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox recently announced that vaccine eligibility would expand to include all Utahns 16 and older beginning Wednesday. Widespread eligibility was originally planned for April. According to Cox, all of Utah’s local and state health departments were on board with the health equity plan.
“It is very exciting that all eligible Utah adults will be able to receive the vaccine,” said freshman Eliza Gibson, a film major.
In the United States, three companies currently produce vaccines for distribution: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first authorized the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 11, 2020. The Moderna vaccine received emergency approval one week later. Both are given in two shots three to four weeks apart.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the most recent vaccine to be authorized, requires only one dose.
All vaccines are administered in the muscle of the upper arm. At this time, no vaccine is available for children under 16.
Sophomore Madison Jaques, a social work major, is excited about the release of the new vaccine.
“With three vaccines being made and distributed, it allows more people to get the vaccine and allows people to have more access to it. … I think people will be more likely to get the J&J vaccine because it is one shot versus the two that are required with Moderna and Pfizer,” she said. “The single-shot vaccine allows people in homeless communities and rural areas to receive the vaccine easier and quicker.”
The release of another vaccine and the announcement that all adults are now eligible may get society closer to how it was before the pandemic.
“I think the newly released vaccine is both exciting and intriguing. It seems like the next best step to help with COVID-19,” Gibson said. “The new vaccine will hopefully help people in our community feel safer and less at risk. I think it will help those who receive it against COVID-19, as well as give people the opportunity to help our community and world move towards a safer future.”
Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, told the press, “The most important thing we can do right now is to get as many shots in as many arms as we can.”
“I think this is a powerful statement,” said Jaques. “This virus has devastated many, whether it be loss of jobs or loss of loved ones. This statement shows that the people in charge are willing to help communities recover and bring a sense of normalcy to society again.”
Students attending classes on campus can continue to get regularly tested for COVID-19 using Salt Lake Community College’s testing appointment tool.
President Biden said he would direct all states to expand their eligibility to include all adults to be able to receive the vaccine by May 1.