Census officials cite Utah as leader in COVID-19 fight – Cache Valley Daily


WASHINGTON, DC – The lifting of Utah’s COVID-19 public health orders on Tuesday reflects the state’s status as a national leader in the fight against the coronavirus, according to US Census Bureau officials.

Data released Wednesday by census officials indicates that Utah is above the national average in terms of adults who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Less positively, however, the state also exceeds the national average in terms of adults who would hesitate to receive the vaccine.

Census spokeswoman Jane Callen said the information comes from the office’s latest version of its Household Pulse Survey, which was recently sent to more than one million households. This survey, which has now been refined to address post-vaccine attitudes and behaviors, generated nearly 70,000 responses.

The most recent national census figures show that 69.7% of American adults have received at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here in Utah, that percentage is 72.3. In raw numbers, that translates to 2.2 million doses of immunization administered statewide, according to Utah Department of Health spokesperson Jenny Johnson.

This success puts Utah in the company of 19 other states with vaccination rates between 70 and 80 percent. Only New Mexico has exceeded an 80 percent vaccination rate, albeit by only a few tenths of a percent.

Census officials say the national average of adults who would hesitate to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is 11.5%.

Here in Utah, that percentage is slightly higher at 12.3.

In the recent Pulse Survey, reasons cited by Utahns who are reluctant to get the vaccine include concerns about side effects (58%); lack of confidence in the effectiveness of available vaccines (48 percent); and doubts about the need for vaccination (47 percent).

The expiration of Utah’s COVID-19 public health orders on Tuesday was triggered by provisions of House Bill 294, “Pandemic Emergency Power Amendments,” which was enacted by the 2021 general session of the ‘Legislative Assembly.

This statute set three conditions for ending the state’s long-standing mandates on public gatherings and social distancing. This was a 14-day case rate of less than 191 per 100,000 residents; an average of seven days of COVID-19 patients occupying less than 15 percent of Utah’s intensive care unit beds; and the delivery to Utah of more than 1.6 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

In a letter sent to lawmakers on Tuesday, the fulfillment of these conditions was certified by Rich Sauders, the executive director of the Utah Department of Health.


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