Nevada expects wide eligibility to draw big wave to vaccines
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Health officials in Nevada said Friday they expect a big first wave of people signing up get appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations when eligibility expands next week to everyone age 16 and older.
Some will need to try more than once, they said.
“Currently, there is not enough vaccine to administer to every resident,” Nevada COVID-19 Response vaccination chief Candice McDaniel told reporters. She said people should “be patient and check back, as more appointments will be added.”
“The scale of the undertaking (was) immense from the beginning,” she added.
In Las Vegas, University Medical Center started accepting online signups for appointments beginning Monday at its vaccination center at Encore Las Vegas.
The Southern Nevada Health District announced that newly eligible people could make appointments Saturday for slots at sites including the downtown Cashman Center conference hall and Las Vegas Convention Center.
In Reno, the Washoe County Health District reported that appointments were already full.
McDaniel pointed to state Department of Health and Human Services data showing that nearly 1.3 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered since the state began allocating shots in mid-December for first-responders and doctors.
The effort has expanded to average nearly 21,000 shots a day over the last 14 days, with a peak of more than 28,000 doses delivered on March 19. Records show few vaccinations typically on Sundays.
Almost 20% of the state’s more than 3.1 million residents have completed a vaccine regimen, including more than 350,000 in and around Las Vegas.
In Washoe County and Carson City, more than 95,000 people, or 22% of the area population, have been fully vaccinated, the Department of Health and Human Services reported.
Officials on Friday reported 342 new cases of coronavirus statewide and four more deaths. Those total numbers are now 304,454 and 5,260, respectively, since the pandemic began.
The statewide virus infection positivity rate has held at 4.2% since March 19. In Las Vegas, the figure remains at 4%. Both are below a World Health Organization goal of 5% for relaxing pandemic prevention restrictions.
State COVID-19 response chief Caleb Cage on Friday called vaccines just one tool for reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19. He said people should continue to wear masks in public, wash hands often and keep socially distant from others.
The Southern Nevada Health District also began offering telephone and email contacts to schedule vaccination shots for people who are homebound, bedridden or need a wheelchair, walker or crutches to leave home.