Utah’s COVID-19 vaccination numbers are choosing up pace; new positivity fee method defined

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s vaccination efforts have grown considerably over the previous few weeks.

The state reached a seven-day operating common of a bit over 12,500 vaccinations per day on Feb. 1 in comparison with 5,250 on Jan. 1, Utah Division of Well being knowledge reveals. Though a few of that’s second-dose vaccinations, it nonetheless reveals the vaccinating course of is rushing up after a sluggish begin.

The state reported on Feb. 4 that it solely had 2,184 doses that hadn’t been used after seven days — a big drop from 26,399 on Jan. 24. That additionally signifies that the state’s provide goes straight into the arms of Utahns.

Gov. Spencer Cox additionally offered an replace on incoming vaccine provides final week. He stated it is totally potential that Utah will start to obtain over 100,000 first-round vaccine doses per week the tip of winter. That improve can be the results of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosting the distribution of their vaccines and Johnson & Johnson — which is at present awaiting Meals and Drug Administration approval — becoming a member of the sphere.

On the similar time, the state tweaked the way it calculates its COVID-19 positivity fee this week. Here is a take a look at the brand new stats and knowledge from the state well being division and the way it components into Utah’s coronavirus state of affairs.

Who’s already vaccinated?

The Utah Division of Well being started releasing vaccination knowledge within the days after the primary vaccinations went into Utahns’ arms on Dec. 15. Since then, it is principally offered a glance into what sorts of vaccines have been distributed and the place they’ve gone in relation to the state’s 13 county well being departments.

Now the well being division has a bigger breakdown of demographics of Utahns already vaccinated. It permits us to know the age ranges of people vaccinated and different traits to see precisely who has been vaccinated already.

We already knew who was eligible. Well being care employees, emergency responders, long-term care facility sufferers, educators and Utahns over the age of 70 all at present qualify to obtain the vaccine.

There are at present 317,603 Utahns who’ve obtained at the very least the primary dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Of these, 108,095 have obtained a second dose. Meaning the state has administered 425,698 out of 493,635 vaccines which have both arrived since Dec. 15 or are scheduled to reach shortly.

  • Native well being departments have emerged as the highest supplier of vaccines administered. With over 168,000 first doses administered and counting, they’ve accounted for greater than half of all Utahns vaccinated as of Tuesday. Native well being departments had been tasked with administering vaccines to first responders and people 70 and older.
  • Hospital programs are the second-highest supplier with 68,260 pictures administered. These had been the docs and well being care employees who first obtained the vaccine. Since hospital programs had been the primary to offer pictures, their group accounts for probably the most second doses of any group for now: 53,072.
  • Neighborhood Nursing Companies, which labored with administering vaccines to academics, is third with 39,363 individuals vaccinated. Lengthy-term care services had been fourth with 33,376 complete vaccinations between federal and state pharmacies mixed; non-public clinics, well being facilities and well being staff had been fifth at 4,452.

It is no shock — given the big hole between the primary and second suppliers — that roughly one-third of all Utahns vaccinated to date are 70 or older. The state well being division experiences 104,667 people 70 and over had obtained at the very least one dose of the vaccine as of Tuesday’s replace. Of the remaining age teams, 40 to 49 is the subsequent highest with a bit over 50,000 Utahns on this vary vaccinated.

Because it’s the one age group that is particularly eligible for the group with out every other stipulations, it is also not stunning that people 70 to 79 and 80-plus have the best share of vaccination charges among the many state’s grownup inhabitants when taking a look at age teams.

An estimated 46% of Utahns over the age of 80 have obtained the vaccine and 45% of Utahns 70 to 79 have been vaccinated. All of the remaining age teams — representing people in fields who certified for the vaccine — fall between 6% and 14% of their age group’s complete inhabitants.

This graph, created  the Utah Department of Health, shows the percentage of individuals per age group that have received the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.
This graph, created the Utah Division of Well being, reveals the proportion of people per age group which have obtained the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Picture: Utah Division of Well being)

The state additionally breaks down vaccination race/ethnicity and gender. Because the division experiences that about 31% of the race/ethnicity knowledge is unknown, that knowledge remains to be a piece in progress.

The information does present that ladies have an edge on the subject of receiving the vaccine. The hole is wider between age teams youthful than 70, which might say extra concerning the fields of vaccine eligibility than a break up within the want to get vaccinated. These gaps vary from 63% ladies to 36% males amongst 30- to 39-year-olds, to 70% ladies and 29% males amongst 16- to 29-year-olds.

The hole shrinks after 70. It is 53% ladies to 46% males amongst 70- to 79-year-olds, and 57% ladies to 42% amongst people 80 and over.

Extra vaccines to come back

Cox stated final week that the state aimed to finish vaccinations for the 70-and-over age group within the coming weeks. State well being division knowledge and up to date estimates the Kem C. Gardner Coverage Institute point out that there are about 230,000 to 240,000 Utahns who fall beneath the 70-or-over class.

The speed of seniors vaccinated rose on Jan. 15 as many grew to become eligible for the vaccine for the primary time. About 27,622 Utahns above the age of 70 had been vaccinated per week over the primary three weeks after Jan. 15, based on knowledge offered the state well being division.

If Utah maintained that fee for one more three weeks, then roughly 181,075 Utahns 70 and older can be vaccinated means of Feb. 26. That might account for roughly 75.4% to 78.7% of the estimated inhabitants. Needless to say Utah’s vaccine provide grew throughout that three-week span between Jan. 15 and Feb. 5, and is anticipated to develop extra within the coming weeks.

Cox on Thursday estimated that Utah’s provide from producers had moved from 33,000 per week to 42,000 to start February. The state had some extra doses it acquired on account of a cope with nationwide pharmacy chains that had been oversupplied doses in Utah, which meant at the very least some time period with about 50,000 doses in every week.

“We anticipate we’ll proceed to see these small will increase every week,” he stated, noting these had been projections and unofficial however might set the state up for “big” spikes in what number of vaccines the state receives weekly.

If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is permitted to be used — which is anticipated — about 33,000 doses of the one-dose vaccine are anticipated to reach in Utah per week the start of March. Cox estimated that the state would obtain over 130,000 first doses from all three producers then. If that involves fruition, it might simply double the present supply fee alone. He additionally estimated that fee would solely proceed to develop April.

“To go from 33,000 every week to 130,000 (in March), and near 150,000 to 200,000 weeks into April, simply modifications the ballgame for all of us,” he continued. “That is what we’re planning for. That is what we’re making ready for.”

Once more, utilizing well being division knowledge from Jan. 15 means of Feb. 5, the state averaged roughly 7,254 new Utahns vaccinated per day over that three-week span. You may think about that the variety of new Utahns per day vaccinated improves if the variety of doses delivered to the state each week continues to rise.

That is why the state additionally introduced the subsequent wave of individuals eligible for the vaccine throughout that briefing. Starting March 1, anybody 65 or older plus anybody 18 or older with particular comorbidities shall be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

These comorbidities are:

  • Anybody who’s a stable organ transplant recipient
  • Anybody recognized with non-hematologic most cancers inside the previous one yr (excluding basal and squamous cell most cancers diagnoses) or hematologic most cancers recognized inside the previous 5 years
  • Anybody with continual coronary heart illness, reminiscent of continual coronary heart failure, ischaemic coronary heart illness and extreme valve or congenital coronary heart illness
  • Anybody with continual respiratory illness, which is outlined as having extreme continual obstructive pulmonary illness, fibrosing lung illness, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis
  • Anybody with uncontrolled diabetes, which is outlined sufferers with an A1c of 9.zero or greater
  • Anybody with extreme kidney illness, reminiscent of being on dialysis or recognized with stage Four or 5 continual kidney illness
  • Anybody with a weakened immune system from blood, bone marrow or organ transplants. This consists of anybody with HIV, utilizing corticosteroids long-term or utilizing different immune weakening medicines long-term
  • Anybody receiving immunosuppression remedy
  • Anybody with neurologic circumstances that impair respiratory perform, reminiscent of motor neuron illness, myasthenia gravis, a number of sclerosis, Parkinson’s illness, cerebral palsy, quadriplegia or hemiplegia, progressive cerebellar illness, epilepsy and Down syndrome
  • Anybody with asplenia splenectomy or a spleen dysfunction, such sickle cell illness
  • Anybody with a physique mass index of 40 or greater
  • Stroke and dementia

It is estimated that this variation will make the vaccine eligible for one more 400,000 Utahns starting March 1. With the growth of latest doses and extra individuals to vaccinate, the state reached an preliminary settlement with 47 complete Walmart and Smith’s/Kroger pharmacies in Utah to manage vaccines for the brand new group.

Extra eligible teams are anticipated to be introduced April.

Explaining the change in Utah’s positivity fee

The state well being division made an adjustment to its seven-day operating common positivity fee this week, which went into impact on Monday.

“Now we have been utilizing % positivity fee all through this outbreak as a number one indicator of the unfold of COVID; as well as, it additionally measures how a lot testing we’re doing,” stated Dr. Angela Dunn, the state’s epidemiologist.

Dunn defined there are literally three legitimate methods the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention calculate the statistic. Utah has used a “particular person over particular person” technique from the start, which is the quantity of people that have examined optimistic over the entire quantity of people that have been examined.

“For an individual who has taken multiple take a look at inside a 90-day interval, their first optimistic result’s used; and if they don’t have a optimistic end result, their first unfavourable result’s used,” she stated.

Meaning for those who examined unfavourable on Jan. 1 after which examined unfavourable once more on Feb. 1, that second take a look at wouldn’t be counted beneath this format — neither would every other take a look at carried out between Jan. 1 and the tip of March if the end result remained unfavourable.

Dunn stated this format “biases our positivity fee a bit bit greater,” but it surely’s additionally a technique that is allowed specialists to undertaking surges upfront of them taking place.

The state isn’t ditching this format. In actual fact, it is nonetheless on the state well being division’s dashboard. The state’s fee fell to 15.47% means of Feb. Three with Tuesday’s replace. It is the identical share that it reported on Oct. 13 because the state’s COVID-19 decline continues.

This graph, created  the Utah Department of Health, shows Utah's "person over person" positivity rate throughout COVID-19 pandemic as of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
This graph, created the Utah Division of Well being, reveals Utah’s “particular person over particular person” positivity fee all through COVID-19 pandemic as of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (Picture: Utah Division of Well being)

Nevertheless, the well being division now permits customers of the positioning to toggle to a second format: “take a look at over take a look at.”

“That is merely the variety of optimistic checks resulted over the entire variety of checks administered,” she stated. “So each single take a look at reported to the Division of Well being is included on this calculation.”

“So for those who examined unfavourable on Jan. 1 and unfavourable once more on Feb. 1, each outcomes would present up within the calculation. This time it results in a bias for the speed to be “a bit bit decrease,” Dunn added. This technique lists Utah’s positivity fee at 7.22% as of Feb. 3.

This graph, created  the Utah Department of Health, shows Utah's test over test positivity rate throughout COVID-19 pandemic as of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
This graph, created the Utah Division of Well being, reveals Utah’s take a look at over take a look at positivity fee all through COVID-19 pandemic as of Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (Picture: Utah Division of Well being)

So what is the positivity fee? It relies on the tactic you are taking a look at. Both means, the traits do not actually change. With the take a look at over take a look at format, Utah’s pandemic positivity fee peak can be 17.87% on Jan. 1, not 33.25% because the particular person over particular person format indicated. That stated, each indicated the identical peak dates and up to date declines in circumstances.

It additionally doesn’t suggest that the state is altering the method to get again to its purpose of beneath 5% extra shortly. Below the take a look at over take a look at technique, the state nonetheless hasn’t reached that purpose since late Could 2020. That is additionally the final time the earlier technique reached that purpose means of the particular person over particular person technique.

Dunn stated the state’s new technique is one utilized 37 different states, so it permits individuals to higher examine with how all 50 states calculate charges. It additionally permits Utahns to higher see the charges because the state will increase COVID-19 testing.

“This take a look at over take a look at technique goes to permit us to see the good thing about our elevated testing capability,” she stated. “We wish individuals to get examined, and testing is a key intervention to slowing the unfold of COVID.”

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