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Many states released COVID vaccination plans, but not Nevada

Updated October 23, 2020 - 2:22 pm

Diverging from other Western states, Nevada is still keeping under wraps its playbook for rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine.

Yet California, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington have all made public their draft plans, which outline how the vaccine would be delivered, who would be offered it first and how it would be administered.

Nevada officials initially responded to the Review-Journal’s request for the plan by saying it would be released once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had approved it.

On Friday, a state official said that Nevada’s plan — or at least parts of it — could be released as soon as next week.

“We did provide a robust plan where we do indicate a high level of detail, including where we’re going to store vaccine and other things,” said Julia Peek, deputy administrator with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “So we’re just trying to figure out now with our deputy attorney general and others what information should be released and should not be released related to the vaccination.”

Peek said that all state plans have gone through the first level of review by the CDC, with final review and feedback expected by about Nov. 1. Nevada’s plan was submitted to the federal agency by Oct. 16. Some states released their drafts that day, which was the deadline to submit to the CDC.

At a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak referenced Nevada’s plan, saying the state intended to make a vaccine available to “frontline workers or healthcare workers or vulnerable populations first before we make it available to the general public.”

He said more information would be forthcoming at a news conference next week, including details on refrigeration.

Why refrigeration? Some vaccines undergoing clinical trials require deep refrigeration of 112 degrees below zero, underscoring the complexity of the task of delivery across the state, to both urban and rural areas.

Sisolak noted that there is no clear timetable yet for when the first doses of vaccine would be available in Nevada, which depends on when a vaccine has been deemed safe and effective by the federal government.

The goal of Operation Warp Speed, a federal program created to hasten vaccine development, is to deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccine with the first doses available by January and possibly now as soon as November.

“Nevada is prepared to receive, handle, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccine to its residents once a safe and effective vaccine is available,” stated an Oct. 16 news release from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

The release stated that there was a massive coordination effort underway among public- and private-sector partners, including immunization and public health emergency preparedness programs, emergency management agencies, Tribal nations and Tribal health organizations, health care organizations, industry groups, policy makers, immunization coalitions and community vaccination providers.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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