Utah received $1.25 billion in federal Cares Act money to help with pandemic response.

KUTV reported in October 2020 that $440 million was unspent. The Tribune reported the Utah Legislature spent $800,000 on a no-bid contract for a drug we knew didn’t work. Uintah County spent $500,000 of pandemic control money on a tubing hill.

Now Gov. Spencer Cox wants volunteers to help the understaffed and underfunded health departments vaccinate people? They want people to work for free while they sit on hundreds of millions of dollars?

We should pay nurses, medical assistants and other licensed vaccinators $25 an hour to temporarily staff vaccination centers. We have many folks suffering financially who could be paid $15 an hour to help input vaccine data. We need that Cares Act money to trickle down to workers who want to get the community vaccinated quickly. Asking for volunteers is insulting in light of the taxpayer money that is sitting in the hands of our legislators.

The Cares Act money was intended to help get this pandemic under control. It’s not a slush fund for corrupt legislators. We need that money to pay a temporary workforce that will get our community vaccinated.

John Nelson