COVID-19: Stats to know about vaccinations and current case counts
From vaccination rates to case counts, here are some important COVID-19 statistics you should know from May 2021.
Staff video, USA TODAY
Southwest Utah’s vaccination rates remain low despite the vaccine having been available to the majority of the public for months. A public health official warns that the trend could make the region susceptible to a surge of new coronavirus cases in the fall.
As of Thursday, 33% of Southwest Utah’s population were fully vaccinated and 37% had received one dose of the vaccine. This translates to just over 83,000 fully vaccinated individuals and roughly 93,000 partially vaccinated people in Southwest Utah, according to Utah’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Currently the Southwest Utah Public Health Department estimates 250,000 people are living in the region, according to David Heaton, a public information officer for the department.
In Washington County, 26.1% of the total population including children under 12, who are not eligible for the vaccine, were vaccinated while in Iron County only 23.7% of people were vaccinated. The numbers improve slightly when children are excluded, with Washington County’s rate going up by five points to 31.2% and Iron County’s numbers up to 29.1%.
These numbers haven’t changed much lately, though. Three weeks ago, The Spectrum reported 24.7% of Washington County had been vaccinated and only 22.4% of Iron County had been vaccinated.
Heaton says demand for the vaccine has dropped since vulnerable populations and essential workers have already been able to get the vaccine and those eager to get the vaccine have already done so. The state expected this decrease in demand to happen, according to Jennifer Napier-Pierce, a senior advisor and director of communications for the governor’s office.
Since the initial roll-out of the vaccine hospitalizations and cases have declined in Southern Utah but Heaton warned that the region may not be done with the coronavirus if vaccination rates remain low.
“There is a high likelihood that we will see a surge in COVID-19 cases this fall as cold and flu season remerges and schools starts again and people start congregating more indoors,” said Heaton.
With demand for the vaccine being low and the supply high, Heaton says the next few weeks are the “prime time” for people to take the preventive measure of getting vaccinated.
The governor’s office estimates that 62-63% of Utahns over the age of 16 have been vaccinated with the hope of reaching 70% vaccination rate for that group by July 4, according to Napier-Pierce.
Vaccination rates are higher among more at-risk populations, with those over the age of 65 much higher — Iron County was at 61.4% among its seniors while Washington County had counted 45.9% of its seniors as fully vaccinated.
For a county-by-county look at vaccinations see the COVID-19 vaccine tracker, which is updated daily.
Gov. Spencer Cox has been urging Utahns to get the vaccine in recent COVID-19 press briefings. However, Utah has not announced any incentive programs for getting the vaccine, unlike other states. Ohio held a $1 million lottery for vaccinated residents, Washington enacted a “joint for jabs” program which will give away marijuana, West Virginia is giving out guns and pick-up trucks.
The governor’s office says it’s providing more practical resources to increase vaccinations such as extending vaccine clinic hours, allowing walk-in appointments and creating mobile clinics, according to Napier-Pierce. The governor’s office also implemented a public information campaign to help educate people who are skeptical of the vaccine.
Cox says he has looked into implementing incentive programs but the state legislature hasn’t approved any flashy incentives to get vaccinated. The Legislature has been hesitant to put any state money into the vaccine incentive program.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Jonathan Ball, the director of the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst. recently told lawmakers “there isn’t much appetite in the legislature for [incentives].”
Utahns are still eligible to receive numerous benefits from private businesses if they get vaccinated, including free food, free tickets to entertainment events and free car rides. Here is a list of incentives for getting the vaccine.
Across the nation 51.7% of people have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 42.3% of the population have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In recent weeks the number of vaccines distributed on a single day has fallen from 2 million to 400,000, according to the Associated Press.
These numbers indicate the U.S. will likely not meet President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of Americans with at least one dose of vaccine goal set by July 4. A USA Today analysis projects only 67% of the country will be vaccinated by Independence Day.