Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Vaccinations in west Salt Lake City neighborhoods lag behind other parts of town

By Mike Anderson, KSL TV | Posted - Apr. 12, 2021 at 8:01 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Health Department said it's been difficult to get as many people vaccinated on the west side of Salt Lake City as in other parts of town.

About twice as many shots have been given in areas like the Avenues and East Bench compared to the Rose Park and Glendale communities.

Several groups have tried to step in and help but there are multiple challenges standing in the way.

While a lot of people might feel motivated to get to a vaccine site, that drive and confidence in the vaccine aren't the same for everyone.

"What's been the biggest barrier is signing up," said Maddie Glenn a social work intern at the Rose Park Neighborhood Center. "There's a lot of misinformation, but we find that most people are willing to get the vaccine, they want to get the vaccine."

There are still many obstacles in low-income communities.

Glenn added, "People that maybe don't have English as their first language or computer literacy skills."

The Salt Lake County Health Department has held more than 200 pop-up vaccine clinics.

"Some of our community members may not have help to overcome those obstacles to get to our vaccination mega sites," Glenn said.

Spokesman Gabe Moreno explained immigrant and refugee community members are among those who don't trust big government clinics.

Getting the clinics into the neighborhoods has helped.

"These communities that have been underserved. Historically, they have distrust in the government for good historical reasons," Moreno said.

The Rose Park Neighborhood Center has held several informational meetings online to dispel misinformation and show people where they can get help signing up.

"A lot of it's just access and making it as easy as possible for people to be able to get the vaccine," Moreno said.

Glenn said there's still a lot of work to be done in these communities.

There is also a struggle to get first-dose appointments through Salt Lake County which is booked for the rest of the month.

There has been more availability in Tooele and Utah Counties.

Another option is University and Intermountain health.

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