COVID-19 Vaccine | KUNR

COVID-19 Vaccine

A screenshot of Gov. Steve Sisolak
Screenshot courtesy of Gov. Sisolak's YouTube channel

These are your morning news headlines for Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.

A closeup of a pharmacist filling a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Health officials say that a majority of Nevadans would need the COVID-19 vaccine for the population to receive herd immunity. That’s when enough people are immunized to slow the spread of infection. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck has this explainer.


Bret Frey is a man who is wearing a face mask and sitting in his car. Through the window, a health worker administers the COVID-19 vaccine into his arm.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

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.

It may seem counterintuitive, but health officials say that even after you get vaccinated against COVID-19, you still need to practice the usual pandemic precautions, at least for a while. That means steering clear of crowds, continuing to wear a good mask in public, maintaining 6 feet or more of distance from people outside your household and frequently washing your hands. We talked to infectious disease specialists to get a better understanding of why.

Why do I have to continue with precautions after I've been vaccinated?

About a third of Americans living in rural areas say they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A closeup of a pharmacist filling a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Governor Steve Sisolak held a press conference Monday to update Nevadans on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

A pharmacist prepares a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

As the COVID-19 vaccination process continues in Nevada, the Washoe County School District started administering the first dose to select employees over the weekend.

A close up of a man getting a shot in his right arm by a woman in blue scrubs. The image is taken on the other side of plexiglass so there is a slight reflection.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

It’s been nearly a month since the COVID-19 vaccine first arrived in Nevada. KUNR’s Anh Gray and Lucia Starbuck discuss how the rollout has been going so far.

A color coded US map highlighting different rural areas that do not have pharmacies designated to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
Screenshot / RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis

When the COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will partner with retail pharmacies such as Costco and Walgreen to help distribute them. But a new analysis of rural counties finds that as many as 750 counties don't have one of those pharmacies.

A team of fast-acting health care workers saved the day — and potentially hundreds of lives — on Monday after a freezer malfunction nearly destroyed 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. the compressor of the freezer holding vials of the medicine at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, Calif., failed, President Judson Howe told NPR.

That started a ticking clock on the shelf life of the vaccines, which can only be used for 12 hours once they're removed from refrigeration of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Someone extracts fluid from a vial using a syringe.
Alernon77 / Adobe Stock

The recent arrival of the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is an important landmark in the fight against the pandemic; however, the Pfizer vaccine isn’t the only one in production, and trials for other vaccines are nearing completion.

Madelyn Beck, a regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau, took part in one of those trials and sat down with KUNR’s Jayden Perez to share her experience.

Four people in masks are seated in a row and separated by plexiglass. There is an end table with medical supplies to the left of each person.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

The Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center was the first to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for tribal members in northern Nevada, alongside some of the facility’s frontline health care workers, on Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration says that some of the vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine being distributed throughout the U.S. contain extra doses and the agency is encouraging hospitals and clinics to use the additional shots to speed up the nationwide immunization campaign.

The agency issued the guidance Wednesday after health care workers reported throwing out the excess vaccine, fearing it would be against the rules to use it.

When Virginia Hedrick first heard about the coronavirus circulating on cruise ships off the coast of California back in March, it made her think back to some of the first ships of European settlers that arrived on American shores centuries ago, also teeming with disease.

An older man in a mask pushes a dolly with a white box on it. In the background is the back of a white Fedex truck.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

The much anticipated first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Washoe County Tuesday morning. KUNR's Lucia Starbuck was there when the truck rolled into town.

Now that federal regulators have authorized one COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. — and appear close to authorizing another — it seems Americans are growing less reluctant about receiving an inoculation themselves. The Kaiser Family Foundation, or KFF, released a poll Tuesday showing a significant leap in the number of people saying they definitely or probably would get vaccinated.

States across the Mountain West are receiving their first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. And the Moderna vaccine will be coming once it's granted emergency authorization by the FDA. But as distribution gets underway, other COVID-19 prevention measures including frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing will still be necessary. 

The Governor of Nevada is pictured wearing a facial mask. He is looking away from the camera.
David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak held a press conference Sunday afternoon updating Nevadans on several COVID-19 mitigation efforts. He also reinstated the state’s eviction moratorium.

Kolina Koltai first heard about the coronavirus back in January, but not from newspapers or TV. Instead, she read about it in anti-vaccination groups on Facebook.

"They were posting stories from China like, 'Hey, here's this mysterious illness,' or 'Here's this something that seems to be spreading,'" she said.

On Dec. 10, the first COVID-19 vaccine will be evaluated by a Food and Drug Administration advisory group, made of external vaccine experts. They'll say - in a public meeting - whether they think the FDA should give emergency use authorization for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and why.


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