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Utah Department of Health recommends providers begin vaccinating kids 12 and older, follow CDC guidance

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News, file)



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SALT LAKE CITY — Following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's approval of kids 12 to 15 receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Utah Department of Health recommended providers become familiar with CDC guidelines and begin the process as soon as possible.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the vaccine on Monday and waited on the CDC's approval before children ages 12 to 15 could receive the vaccine.

According to a Utah Department of Health statement, about 215,000 Utah children in this group are now eligible and can receive the vaccine.

"The sooner providers start vaccinating these kids the better," said Gov. Spencer J. Cox. "Many Utah parents have been waiting for this news so they can make sure their families are more fully protected. This will mean safer gatherings with family and friends and an epic summer."

Data from the Utah Department of Health revealed that since the beginning of the pandemic, 23,419 Utah children ages 12-15 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those 23,419, approximately 201 of those children needed to be hospitalized. Fourteen of the 201 children that required hospitalization developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) which can lead to death, officials said.

"Despite popular thinking, many kids get COVID-19. Some of them get sick enough to require treatment in hospitals and some suffer from serious, potentially long-lasting side effects at rates similar to adults, even when they were asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms at the time of their infection," said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the UDOH in a statement. "Protecting these kids by getting them vaccinated is such an important milestone in the COVID-19 response."

According to the FDA, no cases of COVID-19 occurred among the vaccine recipients, making it 100% effective in the trial. The FDA reported that most commonly reported side effects in the adolescent clinical trial participants were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain.

Following the Utah Department of Health's announcement, Davis County's health department announced that they will begin offering the Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 12 years of age and older at its drive-thru clinic site located inside the Legacy Events Center in Farmington starting on Thursday.

Clinic hours for the week are:

  • Thursday, May 13th: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, May 14th: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 15th: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The clinic doesn't require appointments but said that an appointment is recommended since there over 26,000 Davis County residents in the 12-15 age group that are now eligible. The clinic requires parental consent for anyone under the age of 18 to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Parents must be present for those who are 12 to 15, from 16 to 17 a signature from a parent or guardian is required on the form.

If a person develops any COVID-19 symptoms prior to their appointment, we're asking that they please call and reschedule.

More information on finding COVID-19 vaccines in Utah is available at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/.

Utah numbers

Utah's number of COVID-19 cases increased by 468 on Wednesday, with 13 more deaths and 13,602 vaccinations reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Twelve of the deaths occurred before April 12 but were still being investigated by state medical examiners, the health department said.

There are now an estimated 7,679 active COVID-19 cases in Utah, according to the health department. The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 325, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "people over people" method is now 6.5%. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "test over test" method is now 3.6%.

There are now 142 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 57 in intensive care, state data shows. About 67% of all intensive care unit beds in Utah are now occupied, including about 70% of ICU beds in the state's 16 referral hospitals, according to the health department. About 49% of non-ICU hospital beds are now occupied in Utah, according to state data.

A total of 2,340,755 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, up from 2,327,153 Tuesday. There are now 1,366,564 Utahns who have received at least one vaccine dose, and 1,073,277 are fully vaccinated. A total of 2,818,803 vaccine doses have been shipped to Utah so far.

About 42.6% of Utah's total population has now received at least a first dose of the vaccine, and 33.5% are now fully vaccinated, according to the health department. Among Utahns age 16 and older who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, about 57.5% have received at least one dose and 45.1% are fully vaccinated.

The new numbers indicate a 0.1% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 2,617,021 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 15.4% have tested positive for COVID-19. The number of total tests conducted since Utah's pandemic began is now 4,767,234, up 13,780 since Tuesday. Of those, 6,480 were tests of people who hadn't previously been tested for COVID-19.

The 13 deaths reported Wednesday were:

  • Two Salt Lake County women who were over the age of 85 and were residents of long-term care facilities
  • Two Salt Lake County women who were over the age of 85 and were hospitalized when they died
  • A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
  • A Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
  • A Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85 and was not hospitalized when he died
  • A Salt Lake County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when she died
  • Two Utah County men who were over the age of 85 and were residents of long-term care facilities
  • A Wasatch County woman who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
  • A Washington County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when she died
  • A Weber County man who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility

Wednesday's totals give Utah 401,251 total confirmed cases, with 16,435 total hospitalizations and 2,249 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 391,323 Utah COVID-19 cases are now estimated to be recovered, according to the health department.

Also Wednesday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox's office announced he will end the state's participation in the $300 weekly federal COVID-19 unemployment stimulus program, as well as several other pandemic-related aid measures.

Federal regulators on Wednesday endorsed the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents in the 12-15 age group. Some states, including Georgia, Delaware and Arkansas, have already begun providing the vaccine to that age group, Reuters reported.

Methodology

See more details about KSL.com's COVID-19 data and methodology by clicking this link.

More information about Utah's health guidance levels is available at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels.

Information is from the Utah Department of Health and coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts. For more information on how the Utah Department of Health compiles and reports COVID-19 data, visit coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts and scroll down to the "Data Notes" section at the bottom of the page.

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