I-Team: Vaccination questions hard to answer, but shortage of doses a big factor

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Shirley Brice, 66, is frustrated with Nevada’s vaccine rollout.

“In my age group, a lot of friends around the country, I see them getting vaccinated all over the place. And I’m thinking, what is wrong with Nevada?” Brice asks.

Now we know one reason. State officials say there’s a vaccine shortage.

“I’m like wait a minute, what’s going on here?” Brice asks.

Caleb Cage, the state’s COVID-19 Response director points to a vaccine shortage.

Cage says he hopes that will change through the Biden administration. He reports for the past five weeks, Nevada has received approximately 36,000 doses a week. But the goal is to administer 18,000 doses a day.

He points to Cashman Center, which is now closed Friday through the weekend. Cage says there may not be enough doses to keep the downtown Las Vegas mega-vaccination site running each day.

In the meantime, he says some doses are available at other locations for smaller groups.

“They want to make sure that with the allocation doses that they have available that their local partners get an opportunity to run their programs as well,” Cage says.

The CDC has reported that Nevada lags behind in vaccinating people.

On Friday, the state reported that more than 137,000 Nevadans received the vaccine — out of a population of close to 3 million.

On Jan. 11, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the state would toss out the tier system and move to “lanes” that prioritize frontline workers the same as vulnerable groups.

Still, appointments are being offered for people 70 years and up while seniors like Brice wait.

“So many of us are living like hermits. We are absolutely terrified to go outside,” she says.

So will Nevada start receiving more doses? Eventually.

If another vaccine is approved by the federal government, the supply could increase.

But for now, there really isn’t a clear answer since state officials find out how many doses Nevada will receive the week before the doses arrive.

The I-Team reached out to cities around the valley to gauge the state of their vaccination distribution processes.

Henderson

At this time the City of Henderson is only operating one vaccination site in partnership with Community Ambulance at their main office. This site is specifically vaccinating Nevadans who are 70 years or older, critical infrastructure employees including law enforcement, firefighters and medical service providers from multiple jurisdictions and educators following the guidelines of the Nevada COVID-19 Playbook.

This site was allocated 160 doses per day when it began operation on Jan. 4 and increased to 240 doses per day on Tuesday this week. I am unaware of any vaccines that have been “discarded” and the City has returned any unused vaccine vials to the SNHD at the end of the day.”

Kathleen Richards, City of Henderson spokeswoman

City of Las Vegas

The city is working with Clark County and the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) to offer vaccinations. The SNHD is the lead agency. When you ask how many over 70+ residents have been vaccinated that is a question for SNHD. For example, there is a vaccine site in the city at Cashman Center, and the SNHD and County are running that operation, so you will want to check with them for numbers. The city is not the lead in vaccination distribution.

… City of Las Vegas public safety employees began getting the vaccine the week of Jan. 4, 2021. Additional city employees deemed essential, including those who are part of the city’s emergency management team and elected officials, began having the opportunity to be vaccinated the week of Jan. 11, 2021. Vaccination opportunities for other city employees begin this week, Jan. 19, 2021.”

Jace Radke, City of Las Vegas spokesman

City of Boulder City

Despite Boulder City’s limited EOC resources and personnel, the fire department, in cooperation with the Boulder City Hospital, quickly mobilized personnel and resources once vaccines became available. 

While the city’s facility opens to the general public on Monday, this past week was utilized for training to distribute 340 vaccinations to those in the highest priority following the state vaccination directives and pave the way for efficient vaccination operations next week.”

Lisa LaPlante, City of Boulder City spokeswoman

City of North Las Vegas

  • 2,167 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered
  • First responders, healthcare workers, mortuary workers and those in the 70+ lane have received doses
  • City started with 450 doses today and discarded one
  • City started administering the vaccine on Jan. 4
  • NLV receives a daily allocation of doses from SNHD. They anticipate receiving 1,000 doses on Monday, Jan. 25

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