Covid Q&A with SEUHD

COVID-19 latest numbers locally.Per the Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD) web site Sunday night, Grand County has now had a total of 331 positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, 61 of which are active. 1 of these individuals is currently hospitalized. There were 168 positive cases when I wrote you back on November 8, so I’m hoping all of you who’ve tested positive in the interim are doing well. Grand County’s average percent positive tests over the past week is just over 12%, and the number of active cases per 100,000 people is 624.8. Please visit for more detail. 

COVID-19 questions I recently posed to SEUHD Director Bradon Bradford that may interest you. I recently sent Bradford a number of questions I have both as an individual resident in Grand County, and a City Council member. Here are my questions and his responses should any of it be of interest to you:

Q: Who in Utah decides how our limited supply of vaccine in Utah is dispersed? Thanks – I figure it may be State Dept of Health, but wanted to be sure.

A: The Utah Department of Health guides vaccine distribution following CDC recommendations.

Q: If I have this right, Utah will initially receive circa 400k doses – so enough to vaccinate 200k folks given people need 2 shots total. How are decisions made about eg how many doses rural areas like Grand County get vs say the larger urban areas up north? Sounds like focus may initially be on hardest hit ICUs/hospitals and their staff ?

A: Once the staff of the big 5 hospitals are vaccinated it will be distributed to other hospitals so that they will be able to vaccinate their staff. It will then go out to long term care facilities for staff/residents. After that it will be distributed according to population. SEUHD covers 1.5% of Utah’s population.

Q: I understand the need to prioritize who gets the vaccine as we go along with each vaccine shipment/tranche, and the need to focus first on health care workers and retirement homes, then other essential workers. Is there a site you’d like me to refer residents and colleagues to, which explains this in more detail (assuming we have detail) with such a list?

Utah COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Q: With respect to that last question, are you aware of any site/document I can go to that estimates how many eg: health care workers Utah has, senior living residents we have, and how many teachers, food service workers, other essential workers and at-risk patients we have? Thanks, that just helps a layperson like me understand how many doses of vaccine one would need to cover all of them before we can get to other Utah residents. 

A: In the Utah COVID-19 Vaccination Plan they begin to make estimates on the numbers associated with each group. They’re not quite complete but will be completed in the next few weeks.

Q: Do you have any idea how it’s determined which vaccine Grand County and other parts of Utah will get? Just curious there, as I read about Pfizer v Moderna, Astrazeneca etc. 

A: Initially it will be whatever is available but it will be much harder for us to distribute the Pfizer than the others due to the nature of the packaging and cold-holding requirements.

Q: Do you have any favorite documents or sites to explain to folks how MRNA works? Thanks. I’m looking for the best explanation for laypeople and kids :). Friends with microbiology and genetics backgrounds have explained it to me, but I don’t feel qualified at this point to re-explain it in the most relatable way :).

A: I like this (2 minutes) – How do mRNA vaccines work?

Q: Is there anything special you’d like me to pass on to parents re COVID-19 vaccines? Recent articles and radio stories seem to agree kids will be vaccinated last chronologically due to our need to still develop trials to address them specifically, so it sounds like we might be having a vaccine for Utah youth in fall 2021, but let me know if that’s wrong. 

A: That is accurate. They’ll be last because they generally have the fewest complications from the disease itself and typically there are additional trials required for pediatric vaccines.

Q: FYI to email readers, I removed the personal info from this question I sent Bradford in case the employer does not want to be identified, but FYI, I received a question from a local employer wondering: if the county and city had started planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, if there had been discussion about where specific local employers would fit in priority wise, and if vaccine distribution would be under the health department’s purview. I paraphrase Bradford’s response here to take the personal parts out as the rest is still informative:

A: [I paraphrased Bradford’s response here to take the personal parts out as the rest is still informative]. SEUHD has begun to plan for vaccine distribution and will partner with both Grand County and Moab City because we will need their assistance throughout the distribution process… Our essential worker list is not yet complete.

Bradford added in general for me to pass on to residents: One message that we want people to understand is that early reports indicate that, like with most vaccines, there is likely going to be a period of 6-12 hours where the body is responding to the vaccine and we won’t feel too great. They’ll need to be prepared for that.

COVID-19 news articles of potential interest:

I think I’ve mentioned before coming across articles noting the existence of the Utah COVID-19 Long-Hauler’s Facebook page which Utahn’s with lasting health problems are using to support each other ( This recent article makes note of it, as well as research that may help long-haulers: “Utah Researchers raising money to study COVID-19 ‘long-haulers’ as state reports 2,500 new cases”

I find short articles like this give me a quick snapshot of our State’s latest numbers when it comes to COVID-19 especially as we’ve now topped more than 600 people in ICU beds statewide, have 1 in 4 tests coming back positive, etc:

This may be interesting if you yourself or someone you know is pregnant under COVID-19 or contemplating pregnancy: “Utah researchers work to understand how COVID-19 affects premature births, stillbirth rates”

FYI in case it helps anyone you know tell the story of a loved one, the Salt Lake Tribune has reached out to readers to help them tell stories of those in Utah killed by COVID-19. “Help the Tribune tell the stories of Utahns who have died from COVID-19”

And lastly, if you really want to dig into details, I found this article on how Utah might address the cold storage some vaccines require interesting: “Why Utah is a key link in the ‘cold chain’ for the West’s COVID-19 vaccine delivery”

As always, please let me know if there are ways I can be helpful.

Rani Derasary, Moab City Councilmember