Health district emails those who received first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that they get one shot at a second

Two of the COVID-19 vaccines are seen at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, on Dec. 16, 2020. | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare

ST. GEORGE — The Southwest Utah Public Health Department has sent out an email to those who received the first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the department that a clinic in St. George next Tuesday will be their only opportunity to receive the second dose from the health district. 

Stock image. | Photo by
Choreograph/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

A majority of those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine from the local public health department have received the vaccine manufactured by Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine was used as a secondary supply when Moderna ran out. David Heaton, spokesperson for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, estimates there were 2,300 people who received the Pfizer vaccine from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. 

Heaton confirmed that the Feb. 16 clinic at the Active Life Center, also known as the St. George Senior Center, located at 245 N. 200 West, will be the only opportunity for those who received the Pfizer vaccine from the department as their first dose to receive the second dose from them. Otherwise, they will need to seek the second dose from another provider, Heaton said.

We did a limited amount of Pfizer shots so anyone who got it from us we have a limited amount and that looks like the only Pfizer clinic we will have,” Heaton said.

When the email was sent out on Tuesday morning, all but one reservation slot of the clinic from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., was filled, and as of Wednesday evening there were no available slots.

However, Heaton said the department is now opening up the clinic to walk-ins as long as they are there for their second Pfizer shot only and previously received their first Pfizer dose from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.

Email sent out by the Southwest Public Health Department on Feb. 9, 2021 to people who previously received the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the department. | Email screenshot, St. George News | Click to enlarge

“We will have walk-ins,” Heaton said, adding that while he still thinks this will put the department “to the test,” they are capable of handling everyone who needs a second Pfizer shot on Tuesday and will have the supply to accommodate all of them. He said those who already have an appointment will move through quicker, but those walking in still won’t have too long of a wait.

People that walk in there may be in for a little of a wait but even people waiting probably won’t have an extraordinary amount of wait time,” Heaton said. “We’ve gotten pretty much more efficient at this.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have to be given in two separate shots – 21 days apart in the case of Pfizer, 28 in the case of Moderna. The first shot provides 50% immunity, while the second is required to receive the full, 95% immunity against the coronavirus.

The email received in inboxes around 11 a.m. Tuesday came from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department with an e-mail address from signupgenius.com, which is the web portal the department has been using to handle the vaccine appointments.

With the subject line, “ONLY OPPORTUNITY 2ND DOSE COVID-19 VACCINE,” it stated:

If you received PFIZER, your ONLY OPPORTUNITY will be February 16th. If you cannot make it this day, you will be unable to receive a 2nd dose of Pfizer.

St. George News has received messages and emails from readers alarmed that this would be their only chance to be fully inoculated against COVID-19. However, Heaton acknowledged that the language may have been too alarmist and said if people miss the opportunity to receive the second dose from them on Tuesday, they will still have time to receive it from other providers.

Maybe our language could have been more explanatory,” Heaton said.

Heaton also pointed out what has also been stated from the Centers for Disease Control and Pfizer that while a person has to wait 21 days before they can receive their second dose, there is no maximum for when a second dose can be received.

The St. George, Utah, office of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, seen on October 29, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

“The good news is after 21 day waiting period, there is not a maximum time limit to get your second,” Heaton said, adding that if they don’t receive it on Tuesday, there will be opportunities in the coming weeks from other providers like local pharmacies.

Smith’s Food and Drug has now opened up reservations for vaccine appointments at its St. George and Cedar City locations.

In addition, Walmart announced that starting Friday its stores in Washington City and Cedar City will be providing the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the Walmart website did not have those appointments available yet. The announcement also said St. George Walmart in Bloomington is not offering the vaccine at this time.

Heaton said the reason the district is only offering the one-day clinic is because of the limited time the Pfizer vaccine can be used after it is taken out of cold storage. After the Pfizer vaccine is removed from cold storage of between -112 and -76 degrees F, the supply must be used that day or it will be unusable.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

  • Those who can currently get first dose of the vaccine: Everyone ages 70 and over; K-12 teachers and staff; those that work in nonhospital health care facilities (those in clinics, pharmacies, dentists or other medical offices); and first responders, including law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs.
  • Those who can receive the second dose: Those who received their first injection 28 days or more before the appointment time.
  • Must register in advance online for an appointment time. Walk-ins will not be accepted.
  • Must have a personal ID, employment ID (if necessary) and wear a short-sleeve shirt at appointment.
  • Must get the vaccine in the county you reside in. Proof of residency is required. Part-time residents can get vaccinated with proof of residency.
  • Vaccines are free of charge.
  • Those without email addresses or unable to make reservations online can get help at a specialized hotline at 435-986-2549.

Washington County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department St. George office, 620 S. 400 East, 2nd Floor Conference Room, St. George;  Thursday at Active Life Center, 245 N. 200 West, St George

When:

Iron County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Cedar City office, 260 DL Sargent Drive, Cedar City.

When:

Kane County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Kanab office, 445 N. Main St., Kanab.

When: By appointment. Call (435) 644-4994.

Garfield County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Panguitch office, 601 Center St. Panguitch.

When: Feb. 18 first and second doses, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (click to register); Feb. 22 first and second doses, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (click to register)

Beaver County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Beaver Office,  75 1175 North, Beaver.

When: First and second dose – Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (click to register); Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (click to register)

Smith’s Food and Drug:

Where: 20 N. Bluff St. and 565 S. Mall Drive in St. George and 633 S. Main St. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register

Walmart:

Where: 625 W. Telegraph St. in Washington City and 1330 S. Providence Center Dr. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register (may not be available)

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

Check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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