Governor assures Nevadans a plan will be ready when the vaccine arrives |

Governor assures Nevadans a plan will be ready when the vaccine arrives

Geoff Dornan

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Gov. Steve Sisolak met with reporters Monday to assure Nevadans the state will be ready to distribute a vaccine when it arrives.

Sisolak, Health Bureau Chief Candice McDaniel and Immunization Program Manager Shannon Bennett, said there is nothing new about preparing for distribution of vaccines.

McDaniel said they have been working on a plan for several months including reviewing lessons learned in the H1N1 virus a decade ago. She said the state has long had procedures in place to ensure that vaccines are safely distributed to those who need them and that state law requires all vaccines given follow those rules.

Bennett said the approval process remains, “at the same high standards used for all vaccines.” She said that includes monitoring those who receive them for reactions and other problems.

But she said there will be new challenges in handling, storing and distributing a COVID vaccine. It may be the vaccines must be kept in ultra-cold storage and may require two separate doses to be effective.

At least initially, Bennett said the vaccines won’t be available to children and pregnant women. She said that can’t happen until the vaccines are tested on those groups and proven safe for them.

They said they expect only a small number of doses initially and those will go to the people with the greatest exposure to the virus — health care workers.

Bennett said the vaccines are already being manufactured even though they are still in trials to prove their effectiveness and safety.

“If they’re not deemed safe and effective, they will not be released unless approved by the CDC and FDA,” she said.

Sisolak emphasized that Nevada’s case numbers and positivity rate have been rising.

“It would be irresponsible of me to minimize the risks the state is facing,” he said. “We are not rounding the curve.”

But he said he, his staff and the resort industry are all working on a plan to get conventions back to 50% capacity by Jan. 1. He said they are also working with health officials on how to get all Nevada students safely back in the classrooms.

“But whether we get there is not a matter of luck, not a matter of chance.”

Sisolak said it’s actually up to Nevadans to make it possible to do those things.

“You have to make a choice today,” he said to the television audience.”

“It is not a political statement to wear a face covering,” he said. “To practice social distancing, stay six feet apart, wash hands and avoid crowds.”

He said anyone feeling sick must stay home and get a test.

He said the plan will distribute vaccines once they are ruled safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration: “I’m not relying on politicians. I’m relying on health professionals, scientists, our doctors.”

“Unfortunately, we have a small minority of individuals that don’t care,” he said. “They are going to impact innocent people (who) will be infected as a result of people’s poor behavior,” he said mentioning that several political events are coming this way in the next week.

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