LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada is ranked third to last in COVID-19 vaccinations so far. State officials point to challenges like a lack of communication and resources from the federal government.
But it’s still not clear why other states are vaccinating more people than the Silver State.
As of noon Monday, the state reported that 40% of doses in Nevada were not yet used.
“This is a huge system, as you can appreciate,” said Caleb Cage, COVID-19 response director. “The federal government is involved, state government is involved, local health districts are involved.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists Nevada as second to last in the nation in the number of doses received from the federal government.
On Monday, Gov. Steve Sisolak sent a letter to the acting Health and Human Services secretary asking why. But, the CDC also reports the state as third to last in administering the vaccine, meaning it lags behind in vaccinating Nevadans.
“They are sitting in a freezer, and there is a scheduled plan in every county to use these doses,” explained Candice McDaniel of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
McDaniel, who is heading the vaccine rollout, says as of Monday, the state has received nearly 287,000 doses from the federal government, and 60% were administered.
This leaves close to 115,000 not yet used.
The I-Team asked what needs to be done to speed up the process and get those doses into the arms of Nevadans.
“This could be that it was a delivery that was just made,” McDaniel said. “A lot of counties have a week of scheduled events, that as you’ve seen, that are essentially already full of participants who have signed up. And so, I think what we need to keep in mind is that there is a plan for all of these doses.”
According to the state’s COVID-19 Task Force, the federal government has sent about 36,000 doses a week, while the goal is to administer 18,000 a day.
There is no word on whether the federal government will increase the amount of doses sent to Nevada each week. State officials say they don’t get much notice.
“It’s incredibly difficult to only know a week ahead of time to stand up mass vaccination events,” said McDaniel.
She’s referring to mega vaccination sites like the Cashman Center. If they don’t know how many doses they’re receiving, there is a challenge in setting up appointments.