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Utah to receive 30% fewer coronavirus vaccine doses

December 18, 2020 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is one of more than a dozen states that have been told to expect far fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in its second week of distribution, the state’s health department said Friday.

Instead of receiving the expected 23,400 doses, Utah will instead receive 16,575 — 30% fewer doses. The health department said it learned of the lowered allocation Friday afternoon and is working to determine the cause.

The government has said there is confusion among the states between planning and training numbers and actual allocations, which are only provided the week prior to shipment. Pfizer has said it has not had any production issues and no vaccine shipments are on hold or delayed.

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The company said in a written statement that this week it “successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them. We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.”

Utah hospitals began administering vaccinations on Tuesday to front-line health care workers with the highest risk of exposure. There have been 1,347 doses administered this week, according to state data.

Intensive care unit capacity at Utah’s hospitals best equipped to treat COVID-19 patients reached 99.3% on Friday. There have been more than 246,000 reported virus cases in Utah and 1,140 known deaths related to the virus, according to state data.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.