Appointments are open for Nevadans age 16 and up to schedule the COVID-19 vaccine before official expansion Monday.
The expansion means that 2.47 million will be eligible to receive the vaccine. As of Friday, 33.9 percent of that population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Health and Human Services.
State officials say they are anticipating a big response to the expansion and expect appointments to be grabbed up quickly. As a result, not everyone will be able to immediately get a shot, they say.
“Currently there is not enough vaccine to administer to every resident, but please be patient and check back as more appointments will be added,” Candice McDaniel, a Nevada Department of Health and Human Services official, said at a news briefing Friday.
To get a rolling start, University Medical Center and the state’s vaccination portal both began accepting online appointments Friday for appointments early next week.
UMC, which will administer doses at its large vaccine clinic at the Encore, said appointments are required and can be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis at www.umcsn.com/COVIDvaccine, or by calling 702-789-5160.
Cashman, LVCC closed Monday
The Southern Nevada Health District, which had to cancel vaccine appointments along with all other clinical services on Friday due to a boiler malfunction, began taking appointments for those who are newly eligible Saturday at www.snhd.info/covid-vaccine.
The Cashman Center and Las Vegas Convention Center vaccination sites, which are operated through the county health district, are not open on Mondays. Health district spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said Friday that there are no immediate plans to change operating days at the sites amid the increased eligibility.
The City of Henderson began taking appointments for Nevada residents 16 and up on Saturday for its Sun City Anthem vaccination site, with the shots to be administered beginning Monday.
Appointments can be scheduled by visiting the City of Henderson website at cityofhenderson.com/COVID19, it said. Appointments also can be scheduled on weekdays calling the city’s information hotline at 702-267-INFO (4636) from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Additional information for clinic locations in Clark County is available at www.NVCOVIDFighter.org or by calling 1-800-401-0946.
More than a dozen other states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Ohio, North Dakota and Kansas, have already opened COVID-19 vaccinations to all age groups with no underlying health conditions, The Associated Press reported this week. Alaska was the first state to drop its eligibility requirements in early March.
President Joe Biden has directed states to make vaccines available to all adults by May 1.
In Nevada, thousands of vaccinations appointments went unfilled in early March as demand slackened among eligible groups. Even after the state opened eligibility to hospitality and food service workers, appointments were still open.
However, state officials don’t expect that reaction this time.
No open appointments foreseen
McDaniel said Friday that waitlists already are long as people await their turn to be vaccinated.
“I don’t anticipate there being appointments available next week without being filled, just based on the interest that has been expressed by Nevadans across the state,” she said.
Dr. Michael Gardner, president and CEO if UNLV Medicine, told the Review-Journal last week that he does not believe the university’s vaccination site, which can accommodate more than 2,000 people a day, will be overwhelmed.
“My biggest fear is the vaccine hesitancy is still very real and … we’re not getting the number of people that we want to be vaccinated,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I think we live in a time and an era when there’s a lot of mistrust.”
Even as more and more Nevadans get the shot, the state is preparing more education and outreach efforts to persuade the hesitant.
“We’re at a place now where we are trying to embed more in community-based locations to help support vaccine confidence,” McDaniel said. “So that will be an ongoing process to sort of address any hesitancy that people may have.”
Contact Katelyn Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.