Q: I’m 79 years old and have been a resident of Las Vegas since 1963. I’m appalled knowing that a child molester or anyone else in prison will get the vaccine before someone like myself. Haven’t enough senior citizens died a miserable death from this terrible virus? — Lawrence P. of Las Vegas
A: There’s good news for Nevada seniors eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
State officials said Wednesday that those 75 and older will be moved up in terms of priority for the vaccine — from the third-priority tier to the second — based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What’s unclear is when vaccinations of Tier 2 recipients will begin, and how the vaccine will be administered to this group.
“Vaccination for Tier 2 will begin when vaccine allocation allows,” said Shannon Litz, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
In Washoe County, Northern Nevada’s most populous county, public health officials say they expect the vaccinations of the 75-plus population to start in late January.
A spokeswoman for the Southern Nevada Health District said to stay tuned for more information about logistics in Clark County.
“We will be updating our information as soon as we can,” spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said.
State public health officials have said that Nevada’s playbook for vaccine distribution is undergoing revision.
The updated version should be publicly available in the next week or two. In the current version, prison inmates are in the second tier.
Litz did not answer a reporter’s question about why prisoners initially were given higher priority than older seniors.
However, public health officials have noted that prisoners, because they are in a communal setting, are at elevated risk from the virus and that prisons in the state have experienced outbreaks.
Where to get tested
■ Beginning Jan. 11, the Texas Station COVID-19 testing site in the hotel’s parking garage will operate three days a week as what is being described as a “neighborhood strike team site.” It had been operating as a test site five days a week.
The days of operation will be announced at a later date. The site will open at 8 a.m. and offer about 600 tests on a first-come, first-served basis as supplies permit. Clark County and Nevada National Guard staff will continue supporting the operation, while the health district will oversee on-site registration, lab processing of samples, and the notifications of test results. The site will not take appointments or require insurance.
■ A COVID-19 test site at UNLV, located at 801 E. Flamingo Road, operates 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. It is closed Fridays and Saturdays.
Cashman Center provides testing in Exhibit Hall A at 850 N. Las Vegas Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Appointments at both sites are highly recommended to reduce wait times and maintain operational efficiency and can be self-scheduled through UMC’s website at www.umcsn.com.
Those with no online access may call UMC at 702-383-2619 to schedule appointments.
Both sites accept some walk-ins each day on a first-come, first-served basis as staffing allows, but priority is given to those with appointments.
Also starting Jan. 11, the UNLV and Cashman Center sites will begin requesting insurance information during the registration process. There will continue to be no-out-of-pocket costs to patients, including the uninsured.