SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — All people in Utah age 18 and over will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on April 1, the governor's office announced Wednesday.
State officials expect to have 1.5 million doses by April 10, when Utah's statewide mask order will be lifted, said Jennifer Napier-Pearce, spokeswoman for Gov. Spencer Cox. Mask orders will remain in place for schools and large gatherings.
The announcement came a day after Alaska became the first state to allow anyone 16 or older who lives or works in the state to get vaccines.
Utah also reported the first death of a child because of COVID-19 on Tuesday, saying a boy died in Salt Lake County. State officials declined to reveal his age, saying only that he was between 1 and 14.
The boy's death “is a tragic reminder that we must continue to be vigilant about public health precautions," the state health department said in a statement.
New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah have been on a downward trend since January. More than 319,000 of the state's 3.2 million residents have been fully vaccinated, according to state data.
More than 375,000 virus cases have been reported in Utah, along with 1,990 known deaths, 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.
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.