Utah Vaccination Math

With 2020 behind us, at least chronologically, there is a strong push to get the covid-19 pandemic under control through vaccinations. As has been widely reported, the initial rate of vaccination has been slower that what was originally hoped for. That got me wondering what the math looks like for vaccinations here in Utah.

The stated goal for a vaccination timeline in Utah is having it available to “All Utahns” some where between March and July 2021.

To make the math easier let’s say we want all Utahns who want the vaccine to be able to get it by 1 September 2021. Here is one way to break that down.

– 243 days between 1 January 2021 and 1 September 2021
– 3,205,958 people in Utah ( estimate from 1 July 2019, screenshot )
– Of those, 29% are under the age of 18, leaving 2,276,230 adults

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for 16 and up, while Moderna is 18 and up. Continuing the simple approach, let’s go with 18 and up across the board, it also lines up with the population reference.

At the high end we would vaccinate 2,276,230 people in 243 days. That would be 9,368 vaccinations a day if these were single shot systems, but they are not. Each requires two shots, a few weeks apart. Doubling that brings to 18,736 vaccinations a day.

We are unlikely to need 100% vaccination under control though. The exact percentage needed isn’t known for sure, we can safely say that it would need to be a significant portion of the population. I will go with 75% here:

2,276,230 people * 0.75 = 1,707,172 people
1,707,172 people * vaccine shots = 3,414,344 shots
3,414,344 shots / 243 days = 14,051 shots per day

To get to 75% of those 18 and over in Utah by 1 September 2021 we need to be giving more than 14,000 shots per day.

If 14,000 plus is the target, how are we doing so far? On 30 December 2020 we hit 6,230 vaccinations.

We will need to more than double that.

This doesn’t address the other 29% of the population that is under the age of 18 – another 929,728 people. Hopefully at some point during 2021 there will be a vaccine that will be approved for children. If that happens then we’ll need even more capacity beyond the 14,000 target. That could easily put us in the 15,000 to 16,000 shots per day range.

Given all of the variables, my rough math points me towards a minimum target of 15,000 vaccinations per day, every day.

3 replies on “Utah Vaccination Math”

Thank you, this is worthwhile bringing to everyone’s attention (and comports with my own calculations.) Given that every infection could result in death, 1 in every 200 known Utah infections have died so far, and we’re experiencing over 2,000 known new cases per day, we are likely to see hundreds more Covid deaths. The vaccination part of preventing these deaths couldn’t be more important. I’m with those demanding all deliberate speed including 24/7 administration of the shots. Gov-elect Cox and Director Saunders must see that it happens. Any delay whatever is unconscionable.

This is definitely a time for all hands on deck. Another metric that would point to how we are doing: the time between when a vaccine shipment is received and when it is given. Until we are over this pandemic I would be expect that to be 5 days or less.

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