By Associated Press - Thursday, March 18, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah adults can begin signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine on March 24 - one week earlier than previously planned because the state has unallocated doses, Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday.

About 15% of the state’s supply isn’t being claimed by eligible people making appointments, the Republican governor said. He acknowledged that opening up eligibility so widely means there won’t be enough vaccines for all Utah residents over 18 at first, but said the state wants to prevent having unused vaccines.

“We always want to keep demand above availability,” Cox said during during a televised news conference on PBS-Utah.

Utah teenagers 16 and older may also have a chance to get the Pfizer vaccine in some parts of the state starting next week too, Cox said.

New coronavirus cases have been decreasing since January. More than 714,000 of the state’s 3.2 million residents have been fully vaccinated, according to state data.

More than 380,000 virus cases have been reported in Utah, along with 2,041 known deaths, according to state data.

The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people but 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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