There was an air of excitement and a small round of applause as some of the first health care workers with Renown Health received their second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine Friday. This will ultimately provide them about 95% protection from the virus, which has taken the lives of over 540 Washoe County residents as of Tuesday.
Some Renown staff received their first shot in mid-December at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, ran by the Washoe County Health District. This time, staff drove through a pop-up tent serving as a vaccine site at Renown’s South Meadows campus.
Dr. Bret Frey, president of Northern Nevada Emergency Physicians, proudly placed an “I got my COVID-19 vaccine” sticker on his purple scrubs. He’s been on the frontline of the pandemic as an emergency medicine physician with Renown and described what the last 10 months have been like.
“It's been like war. It’s been a very long winter, even in summer, and we’ve been in battle on the frontline watching our friends, colleagues, loved ones and fellow community members suffer immensely. It has worn a lot of people down, and this vaccine is certainly the brightest spot we’ve had in about almost a year,” Frey said.
Dr. Jacob Keeperman, a medical intensivist and director of the Renown Transfer and Operations Center, also got a second dose in his arm Friday. He explained what the shot means to him.
“It means that I don't have to have as intense a worry every day, when I go to work and come home, that I'm going to infect my loved ones or that I might become sick,” Keeperman said.
Keeperman’s selfie inside Renown’s parking garage, which has been transformed into an alternative care site for COVID-19 patients, recently went viral after President Donald Trump shared the image and called it fake.
Health care workers who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine can still get the shot at the Washoe County Health District’s vaccination site at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.
Nevada is moving from a tiered approach to two vaccination “lanes.” This will allow specific groups of essential workers in Nevada and members of the general public who are high-risk to be vaccinated in two parallel lanes. The lanes have their own prioritization as well. Learn more here.
Renown will also begin vaccinating adults over the age of 75 at their drive-through vaccination site at their South Meadows campus. Those interested in receiving the vaccine are asked to make an account here.
View additional photos of Renown Health's South Campus drive-through vaccine site on Friday, Jan. 8, by scrolling through the image slideshow at the top of this story.
As a note of disclosure, Renown is a financial supporter of KUNR.
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