LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — COVID-19 vaccines are available but aren’t being used. That’s why Southern Nevada health officials are pushing for a change because thousands of vaccine appointments are going to waste.
Local health officials are urging the county to expand the age group eligible to receive the vaccine to 55 and older in order to get more people vaccinated.
The Southern Nevada Health District reports the two mass vaccination sites - Cashman Center and Las Vegas Convention Center - are able to administer about 4,000 doses a day, but are barely doing half of that.
Simply put, not enough people are coming.
UNLV Medicine's CEO and Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs Dr. Michael Gardner says, "We get lost in the idea that it has to be this group or that group. As opposed to that it can be this group and that group. We can do all those things at the same time and we have capacity. We can get you in, if not this week then next week."
Other vaccination sites haven’t had exciting turnouts either. While the drop in appointments has not led to wasted doses, volunteers and workers at the vaccination sites can be doing more.
"We want to be doing about 10,000 doses a week," says Gardner
Another challenge is employees finding the time to actually go and get the vaccine. Many people in the 65 and older age group are still working and are struggling to get time off to get the vaccine.
"I’d much rather a story that says I went to this business and found out all of their employees are vaccinated. I felt safe going there because I knew the employees were protected and I knew that the employer cared enough about their employees to make sure they were protected," said Gardner
SNHD plans on extending operating hours to give people more options.