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One in three eligible Utahns is fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Data showing the vaccine to be safe for pregnant women, a prominent Utah doctor says.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pharmacy tech Mikaela Brigino, center, joins other healthcare professionals as they prepare the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for seniors and staff at assisted living The Ridge Foothill in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, as the rollout continues at long-term care facilities.

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Roughly one-third of Utahns age 16 or older have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Almost 770,000 people have received either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Utah Department of Health reported Friday. That’s one in three of the roughly 2.3 million Utahns who are currently eligible to be vaccinated.

The coronavirus also claimed the lives of two more people, bringing the state’s total death toll to 2,164.

Vaccine doses administered in past day/total doses administered • 43,636 / 1,852,460.

Utahns fully vaccinated • 768,591.

Cases reported in past day • 463.

Deaths reported in past day • Two: A woman between the ages of 65-84 in Salt Lake County, and a man 45-64 in Weber County.

Tests reported in past day • 7,879 people were tested for the first time. A total of 17,826 people were tested.

Hospitalizations reported in past day • 159. That’s up 13 from Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 61 are in intensive care units — four more than on Thursday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 5.9%. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 7.6%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Friday’s rate was 2.6%, lower than the seven-day average of 3.8%.

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Totals to date • 392,096 cases; 2,164 deaths; 15,879 hospitalizations; 2,478,707 people tested.

Also on Friday, Intermountain Healthcare’s senior medical director of women’s health offered reassurance that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women.

“I think the data that are coming out right now are very reassuring that we don’t see any unusual complications during pregnancy,” said Dr. Sean Esplin. “And [we] actually now have evidence that the vaccine is at least effective in producing an immune response, and that’s reaching the baby as well.”

Esplin said “there’s a lot of research going on right now,” which Intermountain is involved in.

“We’re part of this multicenter trial where we’re looking at just outcomes in pregnancy during the pandemic,” as well as “in patients who had COVID,” he said.

Their work has also shown that the virus can stay in the placenta for as long as eight weeks after a person was infected with COVID-19, he said. As for when a pregnant woman should get a COVID-19 vaccine, Esplin said the best time is when she is offered it.

“There’s nothing that says don’t do it in the first trimester, or the second, or the third trimester,” he said. “I actually think earlier in the pregnancy is better. It gives you a chance to develop the immune response,” which “can actually give more protection to your baby.”

Esplin addressed the temporary pause in distributing the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine over concerns about a handful of cases of blood clotting out of millions of doses administered. While these rare clots occurred in women, “We haven’t seen a problem in pregnant patients,” he said.

Signs of a blood clot include “an unusual headache, shortness of breath and chest pain, or a swelling in their legs, with one leg kind of more swollen than the other, or redness or tenderness,” he said.

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