Health officials ready as largest group of Nevadans soon eligible for COVID vaccine


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In just three days, Nevadans ages 16 and older are set to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Monday. It is the largest group to become eligible for the shot. 

So, the big question is: are health officials prepared?

“It’s just really exciting,” said 16-year-old Henderson resident Mahtab Zargari.

Mahtab is thrilled to be able to get the vaccine. She is one of thousands across the state who will become eligible for the shot on April 5.

“To finally kind of be able to hang out with my friends again and bring stuff back to normal will be great,” Mahtab said.

Mahtab’s mother and father say they feel relieved.

“That is the first thing that a parent thinks of, how can I protect my child, so it’s amazing. We’re really happy,” said Shahab Zargari, Mahtab’s father.

Mahtab’s mother, Heela Naqshband, added, “For so long, there was just so much uncertainty. No one knew what was going on, how long things were going to last. So now, I think we can all feel a little bit reassured.”

Greg Cassell, incident commander for the Southern Nevada Health District’s (SNHD) Incident Management Team, tells 8 News Now that the SNHD vaccination sites are prepared for an influx of people.

“We’re ready to vaccinate the masses,” Cassell said.

He adds that the online appointment system has been running smoothly for several weeks, and he does not anticipate long wait times at either the Cashman Center or the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“We have 4,500 first dose appointments and 2,500 second dose appointments set at each of the big sites, so it’s 7,000 appointments over six days for two sites,” Cassell said. “We can handle that.”

(Sally Jaramillo / 8NewsNow)

With more people visiting Las Vegas — and businesses beginning to bounce back — he is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

“Please get in line to get your shot… so, our entertainment industry, our hospitality industry and our hotels and restaurants can remain open,” Cassell said.

Though her 13-year-old sister Arezu still has to wait, Mahtab has a message for those who are, or will soon become, eligible for the vaccine.

“We have so much ahead of us in our lives, and the vaccines are made to protect us,” Mahtab said.

UMC is already scheduling appointments online for the soon-to-be eligible group to get the vaccine at their site at the Encore. Click here to check the availability.

SNHD tells 8 News Now appointments for those age 16 and up will go live on its website Saturday afternoon. Click here to check the availability.

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