COVID-19 vaccinations through the Logan City Fire Department are no longer exclusively for Logan residents, thanks to a partnership with the Bear River Health Department.
“The grant we got to be able to fund the clinics was through CDBG funds, so it’s a kind of fund allocated for Logan and its residents,” said Chief Brad Hannig.
Logan is considered an “entitlement city” and receives Community Development Block Grant funding because of the threshold of low-income families who live in the city, according to Mike DeSimone, Logan’s community development director.
“This grant was different from our normal CDBG process because it was a mix of CDBG and COVID funds,” he said. “We just felt this was one thing that was directly tied to efforts to eradicate COVID-19.”
Initially, the fire department had to restrict advertising to only Logan residents in order for the clinic to be covered by the CDBG funds, but if a non-resident signed up, either on-duty administrative staff or BRHD nurses who were at the clinic would administer the dose to stay compliant.
“If somebody signed up for our clinic, and they weren’t from Logan city we won’t turn them away … but it’s complicated, and it’s really about the funding source,” Hannig said. “If we’re outside of the parameters of the grant, we have to match the funds and we don’t have the budget to match.”
The fire department was awarded nearly $209,000 in CDBG and COVID-19 funding to cover both the cost of the vaccines and the payroll of off-duty officers administering them. BRHD, which is also in charge of scheduling for the clinic, has provided and will continue to provide a nurse on site to cover non-Logan residents who sign up for the fire department clinic.
“What we found was our clinics at the health department were filling up pretty fast, and the ones at the fire department were taking time because of that restriction,” said BRHD spokesperson Josh Greer.
To balance out the exchange, an on-duty officer or staff member for the fire department will go to the health department appointments to administer doses to any Logan residents who sign up for the BRHD slots.
“It really just allows us to open up the clinics at both places and better serve the needs of the whole community,” Greer said.
The health department and fire department administered 2,400 doses through the week, and 1,227 were done at Logan City Fire Department. Though the majority of those who signed up were Logan residents, 361 were not and had their doses administered by on-duty or health department staff.
As of Friday, the state’s coronavirus dashboard reported more than 53,000 doses have been administered in the Bear River Health District, and just under 20,000 residents are now fully vaccinated.
While fewer people have signed up for appointments in March, Utah also received a smaller number of vials than was originally anticipated.
Officials hope Gov. Spencer Cox’s estimates that all Utahns over the age of 16 will be eligible to make vaccination appointments by April 1 will be accompanied by a higher volume of vaccine doses next month.
With multiple entities offering the vaccine to the public now, Greer encouraged residents to check the BRHD webpage frequently, because appointments are cancelled sometimes when slots open up at a pharmacy and a person no longer needs their slot at the health department.
More information on scheduling an appointment with the health department or Logan City Fire Department can be found at brhd.org/covid-19-vaccine-information.
Logan Regional Hospital, with Intermountain Healthcare, and pharmacies at Macey’s, Lee’s Marketplace, Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club are also scheduling appointments for those eligible receive their vaccinations.
In order to alleviate the pressures of some counties receiving more doses than others, the governor removed the stipulation that an individual has to make an appointment in the county they reside.
The state's COVID-19 dashboard list of all providers throughout the state can be found here.