LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will expand to all Nevadans 16 years and older on Monday.
"It would just offer protection that I would bring home," said Lucca Gonzalez, a 16-year-old Bishop Gorman sophomore.
Gonzalez said his main reason for getting the COVID-19 vaccine is to help protect members of his family.
"I do go in-person to school so I'm like constantly in contact with other people from other houses," said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is one of 850,000 Nevadans who will become eligible for the vaccine on Monday - the largest group since vaccinations began. Chief Greg Cassell with the Southern Nevada Health District expects high demand.
"We think there is and we really hope there is," said Cassell. "We have two sites that are built up to do upward of 7,000 vaccines a day."
Between sites at Cashman Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center, the district should be able to vaccinate about 70,000 people a week.
So why expand eligibility now? Are Southern Nevada vaccinations sites ready for a possible influx of people? Cassell said yes.
"The shots fall off," he said. "It's not just our sites. It's all sites, even our mobile sites that we're running around in smaller capacities aren't getting 100 percent capacity right now."
Cassell believes the program has, for the most part, reached the eligible people who are interested. And while he said he doesn't know what the end of the pandemic will look like, opening eligibility to all Nevadans 16+ is an exciting step forward.
"We are nearing a goal of reaching 60% of our population and getting them vaccinated and building some herd immunity to at least limit things going down the road," said Cassell.
All Nevadans 16 years and older can make appointments online through UMC to get vaccinated Monday-Wednesday at the Encore.
People can also book appointments for one of two main Southern Nevada Health District sites at Cashman Center or the Las Vegas Convention Center, open Tuesday through Saturday.