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Second COVID-19 vaccine dose rollout frustrates some in Las Vegas

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Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 00:37:19-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Waiting for the second vaccine dose is testing the patience of one group of nurses here in Las Vegas. They’re concerned they might not get the second dose in time for it to be effective.

Health care workers have been at the front lines of the pandemic. That’s why they were the first to get vaccine shots. But one nurse is concerned he and his colleagues haven’t gotten clear direction from the Southern Nevada Health District about getting their second dose.

“We’re only five days away and we have no resources on how we’re going to get the second shot of the vaccine.”

Edward Lopez is the vice president of patient services at Community Home Health Care and One Care Hospice. He oversees 150 registered nurses and sets up appointments in blocs to get their first doses. It was to ensure there were enough nurses for patients.

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“We take care of the most vulnerable pediatric patients at home on ventilators, and so it’s very important for us to get the second dose.”

With SNHD implementing a system where it would notify people about getting their second dose, rather than people proactively setting up appointments, Lopez is concerned about delays.

“The longer we wait, the longer our employees are exposed and our families at risk as well as returning to the hospital,” he said.

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SNHD says the second doses are recommended three or four weeks after the first shot depending on which vaccine is given. But those doses can be given to people for up to six weeks. Dr. Jeffery Ng says the latest research shows the first dose can make the vaccine 80 percent effective 30 days after it’s been given, but the second dose is needed to achieve the ideal 94-95 percent effectiveness.

“To get the second dose, you can wait up to six weeks. It’s a very effective vaccination, and I would not advise skipping the second dose,” he said.

Lopez says he and his fellow nurses don’t want to take any chances due to their line of work and want to ensure they have clarity.

“The longer wait can potentially reduce our percentage of safety with the vaccine,” he said.

We did reach out to the health district about the specific concerns of the nurses, with health officials just saying they will give those they contact all the information they need.