Ten percent of county residents vaccinated
Less than one month after the vaccines were made available, approximately ten percent of San Juan County residents have received the first vaccine for COVID-19.
Through January 15, a total of 1,486 residents have been vaccinated, with an estimated population of 14,800.
While Utah Navajo Health System has been able to vaccinate some designated groups using a mass drive-thru approach, San Juan Public Health, with a much smaller and steadier supply of vaccine, is administering the vaccine via appointment for designated sub-groups.
The approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States come from Moderna and Pfizer.
In studies, both vaccines have proven to be 95 prercent effective at preventing those innoculated from becoming ill.
Both vaccines are administered in two shots. The Pfizer vaccine’s second shot, or booster, must come at least 21 days after receiving the first shot. The Moderna vaccine second shot should be within at least 28 days.
The first week San Juan County Public Health received the COVID-19 vaccine, they received 200 doses, and the county has received 100 doses every week after.
Meanwhile Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS) has administered 1,187 doses of the vaccine.
Utah Navajo Health System distributed the first dose of the shots to more than 350 UNHS employees and first responders in late December.
In the first week of January, 836 UNHS patients began receiving the first round of the vaccine via drive thru operations throughout UNHS service area.
UNHS gave the second round of shots to the 350 first responders and health care workers earlier this week.
Starting Tuesday, January 26, UNHS will begin distribution of the second round of shots to the more than 800 patients who received the first round in the first week of January.
During the next week, only booster shots will be available, so UNHS patients will not be able to receive their first shot. The distribution will occur via drive thru at various UNHS sites.
On Tuesday January 26, booster shot distribution will be at Montezuma Creek, on Wednesday January 27 in Monument Valley, on Thursday January 28 in Blanding and on Friday January 29 in Montezuma Creek again.
No appointment is necessary, but patients are reminded to bring their vaccine card, and asked to go to the same place they received their first shot if they can.
While UNHS has distributed vaccines in the southern portion of the county, the San Juan Public Health Department has taken the lead in the central and northern parts of the county.
This week, San Juan School District staff and some Senior Citizens over age 70 are receiving the vaccine.
All healthcare workers and first responders in San Juan County have received the first round of the vaccine.
San Juan Public Health has received about 100 doses of the vaccine this week.
With each bottle containing about ten to 11 doses, the public health department is scheduling people in sub-groups to receive their vaccine at the same time, in order to avoid wasting any doses.
San Juan School District staff are signing up to receive the vaccine through an online portal.
To maximize the available doses the public health department is scheduling residents over the age of 70 to fill in gaps.
Additionall,y if for some reason a person doesn’t show up to their appointment, the public health department has a list of seniors they will call on short notice to use the available dose.
San Juan County Administrator Mack McDonald says the list includes more than 400 seniors who receive county services.
“Knowing this week we only have 60 spots, we can easily fill that off our list of 400 seniors,” McDonald explained. “We’re trying to get the most vulnerable vaccinated, those homebound seniors.”
In the coming weeks, the county will be able to prioritize scheduling seniors to receive the vaccine. McDonald is encouraging residents to watch the health department webpage at sanjuanpublichealth.org/covid-19.
In the near future, the website will host an online portal where more residents can schedule their vaccines. In the meantime, senior citizens interested in receiving the vaccine can contact their local senior center or the county aging services to make sure they are on the county list.
Blanding Senior Center, 435-459-3179
Bluff Senior Center, 435-672-2390
La Sal Senior Center, 435-686-9990
Monticello Senior Center, 435-459-2656
San Juan County Director of Aging, 435-587-3225
The county would like to do mass inoculations like UNHS did the first week of January, but McDonald says that with the county receiving only 100 doses a week, it is more efficient to schedule vaccines for the time being.
In the meantime, McDonald asks the public to remain patient as the county works to receive more doses of the vaccine.