Local pharmacies in Salt Lake County have already received shipments.
The Salt Lake County Health Department expects to receive its first shipment of the updated COVID-19 vaccine this week due to high demand and statewide delays in the new shot.
Local pharmacies have already received shipments of the new vaccine, so people who want to schedule vaccinations now can do so through providers such as CVS or Walgreens, Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp said Tuesday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new vaccine will more specifically target the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and restore protection against severe cases of COVID-19. The county health department recommends that everyone age 6 months and older should receive the updated vaccine this fall, as long as at least two months have passed since the last dose.
“The manufacturer and the shipping — it’s not certain,” Rupp said of the vaccine’s expected arrival in Salt Lake County. “They told us to expect it this week, but we are prepared that it could be next week.”
Rich Lakin, immunization director at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, estimated that while some vaccines should be available this week, most will likely arrive within the first two weeks of October, citing the delayed statewide rollout.
Rupp said the county health department will announce on its website when individuals can schedule vaccination appointments with the agency. If you would like to make an appointment, you must do so by telephone.
The best way Utahns as a whole can schedule a COVID vaccination appointment online is through vaccines.gov, Lakin said, but cautioned that the website will only be accurate if providers and pharmacies diligently update their offerings.
The vaccinations are billed through health insurance companies, but people without health insurance will receive their dose free of charge, said Rupp.
Rupp also encouraged individuals to get flu and RSV vaccinations this fall if they can.
“Normally, I would wait until mid-October to get the flu shot,” Lakin advised. “Because then you have the highest immunity when you gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
The RSV vaccine is new this year but is limited to pregnant women, people age 60 and older, and infants 8 months of age or younger. The county health department does not have doses of the RSV vaccine, but Rupp said eligible people can contact their health care provider about vaccination.
“They are approved by the CDC for concurrent administration,” Rupp said. “But that’s a decision you want to make individually based on your response, for example, to the COVID vaccine or the flu shot – the flu shot – in previous years. If you tend to experience more serious side effects, you may want to spread them out a bit.”