CARSON CITY (KTNV) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak updated the state's COVID-19 vaccination planning process during a Wednesday press conference.
Gov. Sisolak was joined by Candice McDaniel, chief of the Bureau of Child, Family and Community Wellness, along with Shannon Bennett, Immunization Program Manager, Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
The governor said he was glad to provide an update as the state prepares for a COVID-19 vaccine, which he anticipated may be available in mid-December in limited doses.
Today, I am glad to provide you all with an update as we prepare for a COVID vaccine, which we anticipate may be available in the next week or so in limited doses. There is hope on the horizon, but it will take time to make sure everyone has access to the vaccine.— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) December 3, 2020
Gov. Sisolak said officials have reported that a large-scale vaccination throughout America is not expected until the spring. So, the state needs a bridge to get there.
And those current measures in place of avoiding gatherings, limiting exposure by working from home and staying home as much as possible, while washing your hands and wearing a mask will have to continue.
The governor said Nevada is not currently seeing a downward trajectory in coronavirus cases, with 16 of 17 counties flagged for elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission.
COVID-19 UPDATE: We have work to do, we are not seeing a downward trend in any of the metrics that we are tracking. @GovSisolak— KTNV 13 Action News (@KTNV) December 3, 2020
Gov. Sisolak said the below statement was sent in from the White House Task Force this week:
“We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall.”
The governor continued to say if the state does not begin to see a change in case trajectory that he will be left in the unfortunate position of having to take stronger actions. However, he says he continues to work to balance the public health impacts with economic impacts.
Gov. Sisolak said there appears to be hope on the horizon and Nevada is expecting to have the first allocations of a COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government potentially by the middle of December. But the timeline is still being determined by the government with the governor saying the state will be ready.
The Nevada State Immunization Program has received regular updates on the vaccines and how they must be shipped, handled, stored and administered, according to the governor. Both vaccines require two doses to be administered with a set time between doses.
The governor said allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine will be made based on population and while using a tiered approach in alignment with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidance to ensure front line medical providers receive the first dose.
Allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine will be made based on population and we will use the tiered approach, in alignment with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidance, to ensure our front line medical providers receive the first doses.— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) December 3, 2020
The first tier includes other medical provider types, correctional facility staff, and law enforcement, according to the governor. And of the first vaccine allocation, a portion will be set aside for CVS and Walgreens pharmacy partners who will vaccinate members of the vulnerable population who work and reside in long-term care facilities.
Gov. Sisolak said the COVID-19 vaccine will not be released unless it is deemed safe and effective. Once a vaccine is approved, it is anticipated weekly allocations and each county will be able to submit their request for the vaccine.
The governor also shared the latest White House report that read the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high. But he concluded Wednesday's press conference reiterating that hope is on the horizon with vaccines on the way.
Watch Wednesday's entire press conference below: