With Northern Nevada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout evolving every day, KUNR recently put on a Facebook Live event to address community questions and concerns with the Washoe County Health District.
Reporter Natalie Van Hoozer hosted the Q&A and spoke with KUNR’s Jayden Perez to share takeaways from the conversation.
Jayden Perez: Natalie, this was KUNR’s fifth Facebook Live virtual event about the pandemic. For our listeners who weren’t able to attend, what was it about?
Natalie Van Hoozer: I guided a question-and-answer session in English with Lisa Lottritz. She’s the division director of Community and Clinical Health Services with the Washoe County Health District. She’s also a registered nurse.
We answered questions from community members in both urban and rural Northern Nevada related to things like the availability of different COVID-19 vaccines and how vaccination prioritization works.
Perez: What were some of the most common questions you addressed?
Van Hoozer: One of the top questions we received had to do with vaccine availability. Community members said that they’re eligible to get a COVID vaccine, but when they try to get an appointment, they’re all booked up.
“The issue right now is the amount of vaccine we’re receiving and the amount of need. So the need is greater than what we’re receiving in our community,” Lottritz said. “Just watch the websites, they’re updating it as they get vaccine in, and just keep being persistent and trying.”
Lottritz is hoping to see the COVID vaccine allocation for Washoe County increase during the month of April.
Another frequent question we got was if it’s possible to choose which of the three available COVID-19 vaccines you receive. Lottritz explained that requesting a certain vaccine is not possible because Washoe County is allotted certain batches of each one, and they need to use up the ones they’re given as efficiently as possible. At the same time, she did mention that it is your right to decline a vaccine if you’re not comfortable with it.
Perez: What’s next with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Northern Nevada?
Van Hoozer: Governor Steve Sisolak has directed that, as of April 5, all Nevadans 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID vaccine. Lottritz said there won’t be a big enough quantity available to get everyone a dose right on April 5.
“Our focus is really getting through the essential workforce lane,” Lottritz said. “But I think eventually there’s going to be more vaccine and everyone is going to be opened up where you can just schedule an appointment.”
Thinking about the future, another question we received was if people can travel and see their family and friends again once they’ve been vaccinated. Lottritz advised being cautious.
“I would encourage [people] to limit travel if you can, and social distance and just take precautions,” Lottritz said. “As far as hugging your family, take into account, are your family members vaccinated themselves? Just maintaining those safety measures until we get the majority of the population vaccinated.”
She said it’s key to not get too comfortable too quickly.
Perez: What are some resources for people who want to look more into the COVID-19 vaccine rollout or have questions?
Van Hoozer: You can go to the Immunize Nevada website’s vaccine locator to see the sites administering COVID vaccines, like pharmacies and community health organizations. It’s a statewide map available in both English and Spanish.
If you’re interested in monitoring the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations and infections across the state, you can visit the Nevada Health Response website. For details about who is currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Washoe County and how to get a COVID vaccination appointment, you can go to covid19washoevaccine.com. On this website, you can also sign up for a weekly newsletter to get COVID vaccine information updates for our area.
You can find the recordings of this event in the video section of KUNR Public Radio’s Facebook page or play the embedded video of part one below.
Click here to view part two on Facebook.