Salt Lake County to receive updated COVID-19 vaccines soon

Local pharmacies in Salt Lake County have already received shipments.

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Covid vaccinations provided by the Salt Lake County Health Department at the Rancho Market parking lot on Redwood Road, on Thursday, January 6, 2022. The county health department expects to receive its first shipment of the updated COVID-19 vaccine this week.

The Salt Lake County Health Department expects to receive its first shipment of the updated COVID-19 vaccine this week, amid high demand and nationwide delays for the new immunization.

Local pharmacies have already received shipments of the new vaccine, so individuals who want to schedule immunizations now may do so through providers such as CVS or Walgreens, Salt Lake County Health department spokesperson Nicholas Rupp said Tuesday.

The new vaccine will more closely target COVID-19′s omicron variant, and will restore protections against severe cases of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The county health department advises that everyone 6 months and older should receive the updated vaccine this fall, as long as it’s been at least 2 months since their last dose was received.

“The manufacturer and the shipping — it’s not definite,” Rupp said of the vaccine’s expected Salt Lake County arrival. “They’ve told us to expect it this week, but we are prepared that it may be next week.”

Rich Lakin, immunization director with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, estimated that while some vaccines should become available this week, most will likely arrive within the first two weeks of October, citing the delayed national rollout.

Rupp said the county health department will announce on its website when individuals can schedule vaccine appointments with the agency. Those who want to schedule an appointment will need to do so over the phone.

The best way Utahns at large can schedule a COVID vaccine appointment online is through vaccines.gov, Lakin said, but he warned that the website is only accurate if providers and pharmacies are meticulous in updating their supply.

Vaccinations will be billed to individuals’ health insurance, but those without insurance will receive their dose free of charge, Rupp said.

Rupp also encouraged individuals to get their flu and RSV vaccines this fall, if eligible.

“I would usually wait until mid-October to get your flu vaccine,” Lakin advised. “Because then you’ve got your highest immunity when you gather during Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

The RSV vaccine is new this year, but is limited to pregnant people, people 60 years or older, and infants 8 months old or younger. The county health department does not have doses of the RSV vaccine, but Rupp said eligible individuals can contact their health care provider about the immunization.

“They’re approved for simultaneous administration by the CDC,” Rupp said. “But that’s a decision that you’ll want to make individually based on your response to say, the COVID vaccine or the influenza vaccine — the flu shot — in previous years. If you tended to see more severe side effects ... you may want to spread them out a little bit.”