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2nd doses of COVID vaccine start flowing to public in Las Vegas

Updated February 3, 2021 - 8:43 am

In another small milestone in the battle against COVID-19, members of the public on Tuesday began receiving vaccine shots at a Las Vegas Convention Center clinic dedicated to “second dosers.”

The clinic is exclusively for Clark County residents who received their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at Cashman Center, the Southern Nevada Health District offices or Western High School and received email notifications enabling them to schedule a second appointment.

Many wanted the immune-system-boosting second shot at the first opportunity, as the line was about 25 deep in the morning before dissipating in the afternoon.

Unfortunately for those trying to schedule a second dose of the two-dose regimen from home, the health district’s appointment portal was malfunctioning for much of the day.

“Due to high demand for appointments, our registration portal is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later,” an error message said.

Jennifer Sizemore, a spokeswoman for the health district, said the site had been overwhelmed.

“It is due to the high traffic,” she said when asked about the outage. “People will need to check the site later.”

That wasn’t the only checking going on.

Would-be “line jumpers” who tried to get a first shot of vaccine at the convention center clinic Tuesday were met by staff in green vests asking for vaccination cards and checking IDs before allowing them to join the queue to the injection site.

“If you’re a young, healthy person who got their first shot at UNLV and get up to the front of the line, we will turn you away,” Jeff Quinn, the health district’s public health preparedness manager, warned at a news briefing. “We ask that the public remain patient. We need to make sure these vaccines are being given to people that really need it.”

Once the lines vanished, the operation appeared to run smoothly. Only one problem was conveyed in conversations with 10 vaccine recipients: a woman who said she was directed to by an email to report back to the health district offices on Decatur Street, where she received her first shot on Jan. 5, rather than the convention center.

“Three weeks later, I get an email confirmation telling me to come to that same site for my second dose,” said Toni, who declined to provide her surname. “I got there this morning at 11, and they tell me I’m supposed to be at the convention center for my second dose instead. … I was super-confused, but thank God they let me in right away this afternoon.”

With the health district, agencies supporting the site include the Clark County Fire Department, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It is scheduled to run for three months, the health district said.

As for the digital problems, the health district portal appeared online Monday night, on the eve of the opening of the convention center site. Previously, the district had been emailing an appointment link to those who had gotten a first dose at any of three health district sites who were coming due for their second doses.

A health district representative offered no more guidance to frustrated residents, who told the Review-Journal they had tried for hours without success to book appointments.

Contact Mya Constantino at mconstantino@reviewjournal.com. Follow @searchingformya on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Mary Hynes contributed to this report.

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