Nomi Health, an Orem-based company, was recently granted a contract through the state of Utah to help set up COVID-19 vaccination sites and the company is now partnering with the Utah County Health Department to do just that.
The company also was involved in the “Test Utah” program that expanded testing efforts in the state.
“Community-wide vaccination deployment is 80 percent operational and 20 percent clinical in nature,” said Mark Newman, CEO and co-founder of Nomi Health, in a press release. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have completed more than 3 million COVID-19 tests nationwide, and that experience equips us to operate vaccination programs across the country. We could not be prouder to put this expertise to work for our home state, so the Nomi team has been working tirelessly to ensure as many Utah County residents can get their shots and get back to life as they know it.”
With COVID-19 vaccine distribution increasing throughout the state of Utah and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine possibly receiving emergency use authorization, the number of doses that the state and counties are receiving will continue to rise.
This was something that the county was expecting, according to Utah County Health Department Public Information Officer Aislynn Tolman-Hill, and it knew there would be a need for partners further down the road.
Tolman-Hill said that Nomi approached the county sometime in January, mentioning that it had some capability to vaccinate. Fast forward to now and the company is opening vaccination sites in Orem at 1350 Sandhill Road, in Lehi at the Megaplex Theatres, and in Vineyard at the Megaplex Theatres as well as a mobile vaccination van for those who are homebound.
“They have their own staff and they come with a lot of capabilities,” Tolman-Hill said. “The capabilities to store and dispense vaccine safely, which is one of the biggest concerns we have, and they come with a whole team. Other than transferring the vaccine, we really didn’t have to do a lot other than making sure they were able to safely dispense the vaccine. That was something that we were able to start having conversations about. When we realized they would be able to take on that responsibility and do that at additional locations throughout the county, that was something that we were definitely interested in pursuing.”
The locations in the northern part of Utah County have been good additions to the two sites in Provo and Spanish Fork. Tolman-Hill said that many are jumping at the opportunity to be vaccinated closer to their homes, avoiding a drive to Provo or Spanish Fork.
Along with that, the mobile vaccination site will help to get the vaccine to those that are homebound, something the health department is excited to see where it will go and what it will look like.
Nomi also is capable of taking on a large number of vaccines, receiving about 4,000 this week, and Tolman-Hill said that additional partners mean more widespread vaccination sites to service the whole county.
“We absolutely want to make sure that we are serving the county the best we can geographically,” Tolman-Hill said. “Some of the things we are looking at into March and April as we see lots of additional vaccines and large numbers coming into the county, we anticipate opening an additional site in American Fork. That will be a site probably similar in size to the Shopko site square footage wise and we would anticipate throughput wise.”
The hope for the American Fork location mentioned is that it will open in the next three weeks or so. Tolman-Hill added that the department is currently working around the clock on the project.
Another project that is being looked into involves the movement of the vaccination clinic currently located at the Utah County Health Department office in Provo. The site would be moved to another location in Provo that would fit more people and allow for the vaccination of more people. Other possible locations and options also are being examined, according to Tolman-Hill.
While vaccination efforts are ever-growing, Tolman-Hill stressed the importance of health guidelines despite the decline in COVID-19 case counts.
“We are seeing a decrease right now in our COVID-19 cases, which I think everyone is so happy to see,” Tolman-Hill said. “We are excited about that but we are also cautiously optimistic. We are also so excited when we see the numbers and the turnout that we see on a daily basis for those that are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s still going to remain very important that everyone continues to social distance, mask up and practice good hygiene. We are not out of the woods yet so it’s still important that we all stay the course and not find ourselves in another bad situation.”
Around 5,800 doses are available through Nomi and people who are eligible now can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine at vaccines.nomihealth.com/utah or call (801) 704-5911 with any questions. Those 18 and older with specific comorbidities will be eligible starting March 1.