LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Out of the 1.6 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses given in the state, more than 57,000 doses were administered to people who didn’t give a Nevada address.
The quick assumption is that those are all tourists, but health experts say that's not necessarily the case and definitely not the point.
Officials say several factors could be at play here.
"This includes those who work in Nevada but may live in nearby states," explained Caleb Cage, the state's COVID-19 response director. "Many traveling workers who support various industries in our state, while maintaining an out-of-state address."
"There may be people who have moved to Nevada but who do not yet have a Nevada ID," Cage said. "We have students who attended Nevada schools from out-of-state but who are eligible for the vaccine. Migrant workers."
Undocumented people also could be part of those numbers, since fear of deportation for getting the COVID-19 vaccine exists, even though immigration status is not asked at all.
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However, it is true that some people might be treating Las Vegas as a vacation destination.
If so, experts say this shouldn’t be a worry for residents because Nevada has plenty of COVID-19 vaccines to go around.
“At the point we're at now, there's a lot of vaccine," said infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Brian Labus. "We have plenty of vaccine available for anybody who wants it."
"So if people are crossing borders, it's really not that big of a deal," he said, "because ultimately leads to our goal of getting everyone in the country vaccinated."
"If they come to Vegas several times a year and they get vaccinated here, when they come back and visit again, they're not going to introduce disease into Las Vegas," Labus said. "We don’t care, we just want people vaccinated."
Other neighboring states have already opened appointments for the general population, but that's not the case in the entire country. Even if it seems it will help us all overall.