Nearly 7,000 COVID-19  vaccine shots given in five county region of northern Nevada

Quad-county region will begin Tier 2 vaccinations on January 11

Syringe and Vaccine - photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today, Carson City Health and Human Services officials announced that roughly 1,200 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been given so far in the Quad-County region of Carson City, Lyon County, Douglas County, and Storey County. A few hours later, the Washoe County Health District announced some 5,500 vaccine shots have been administered to date. Roughly 1% of the five-county population has been inoculated.

Carson City Health and Human Services is the local health authority for the Quad-county region, and according to Jeanne Freeman, Quad-County COVID-19 Response Coordinator, the vaccine rollout is proceeding according to plan and in accordance with the federally approved COVID-19 Vaccination Playbook for Statewide Operations.

“The population groups are broken up into tiers for prioritization, because there’s not enough vaccine that’s available for everyone at the same time in production,” Freeman explained during an online press conference. “Therefore, availability is changing rapidly across the country. Carson City Health and Human Services is collaborating with numerous public and private partners throughout the quad-county region to coordinate the vaccination distribution.”

Distribution partners include each county, medical facilities, pharmacists and other designees capable of administering the vaccine.

Tier 1 vaccine recipients may include healthcare personnel, paid and unpaid, who are likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19. Staff and residents of Long-Term Care Facilities, non-healthcare essential workers, and adults with high-risk medical conditions.

According to the COVID-19 Playbook for Nevada, the state’s vaccination goal is to reach 80% of the Tier 1 “critical infrastructure workforce” by priority groups in each community with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine within 60 days.

Freeman said CCHHS will conduct multifaceted outreach efforts to notify citizens when they may be eligible for a vaccine shot. She said employers, pharmacies, doctors, and media outlets may notify citizens of vaccine availability.

Nevada’s Chief Medical Officer or designee provides direction for the state’s immunization program. The state orders, stores, distributes, tracks, administers operations, and provides guidance for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program in Nevada. Every vaccination is recorded, and record keeping is extensive.

“We are excited to be able to announce today that starting the week of January 11th, we will begin doing vaccinations in the Tier 2 group starting with our educators, our daycare workers, and our staff in higher education,” Freeman said. “As more of the subgroups  in Tier 2 become available for us to vaccinate, more information will be shared.”

Freeman warned of vaccine scams. She emphasized that the vaccine is and will be available at no cost.

Carson City Health Officer Dr. Susan Pintar explained how a vaccines work during today’s press conference and that each person who gets a shot must wait 15 minutes before leaving to ensure there are no negative reactions.

“Statistics vary, but maybe 10 percent will get a fever for a couple of days and some will get a sort of an achy generally umph kind of feeling for a day or two,” Dr. Pintar said. “Now the good news is that if you do have those side effects, it tells us your body is responding to the vaccine appropriately. Your immune system is getting activated and is trying to fight off the infection.”

Washoe County 

Washoe County has received 20,760 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which include both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. 8,370 doses were designated for the Health District to administer. 12,390 doses were allocated to partners in Washoe County, such as acute care hospitals, emergency medical services providers like REMSA and fire departments, and other health care providers. 

WCHD has administered about 5,500 COVID-19 vaccines in the east parking lot of the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center over the period of 10 days.

The Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center recently underwent upgrades to include four roof structures to allow staff to administer vaccine in inclement weather. There are six traffic lanes which at maximum capacity lead to 12 vaccination bays. In total, 12 nurses can vaccinate at the same time. On average, each nurse has been able to vaccinate about 17 people per hour, for a total of 204 vaccination per hour. 

According to a press release, the county is constantly working to improve efficiencies.

Based on information from Operation Warp Speed, Nevada expects to have enough vaccine in its federal allocation to get through Tier 1 by the end of January 2021 and move quickly into Tier 2 during January and fully into Tier 2 by the end of February 2021, though federal allocation amounts are subject to change.