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County’s COVID response staff, volunteers receive vaccine (photos)

By Eric Marks
Henry Westcott, an 89-year-old Korean War veteran and volunteer at the county's COVID-19 testing site, was among the first to be vaccinated in Washoe County on Dec. 23, 2020.

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On Wednesday, Washoe County public health nurses and aides began vaccination of frontline health workers and COVID response volunteers, the first of thousands of doses they’ll likely administer over the coming months.

James English, regional operations chief for COVID-19 Response for Washoe County, said the county had received more than 4,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Those doses of the vaccine will be distributed to individuals prioritized as Tier 1 by the state following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes health care workers and first responders.

Among those vaccinated was Henry Westcott, an 89-year-old Korean War veteran. Westcott has been volunteering at the county’s POST for COVID-19 testing since it opened.

Vaccination is happening at the county’s POD (Point of Distribution) at the Reno Livestock Events Center over the next few weeks, or until “such time as we run out” English explained. Although there are plans in the works for future vaccine distribution sites, the location will serve as the principal distribution center through Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels of vaccination. The parking lot facility and POD dispensaries can serve between 150 to 300 cars each hour for drive-through vaccination.

Earlier this week, however, district health officer Kevin Dick pleaded with the community to be patient when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination. He said health district phones have been inundated with calls from residents about vaccination, but that the department would not be deviating from the tiered vaccination plan provided by the state.  

More information on the County’s COVID vaccination plan and details on tier priority are available online at: https://www.washoecounty.us/health/programs-and-services/ephp/communicable-diseases-and-epidemiology/educational-materials/COVID-19-vaccine.php

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